New Hope for Child Laborers

A grant of over P 335,000.00 in livelihood funds was handed over by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz to 28 mothers of child laborers in the sugar industry belonging to Dolores Livelihood Community Association (DOLICA) based in Barangay Dolores, Ormoc City.

The handing over was part of the DOLE Secretary's visit to Eastern Visayas where she was the keynote speaker in the 13th National PESO Congress held recently at Leyte Oriental Hotel in Palo, Leyte. DOLE Regional Office 8 Directory Exequiel Sarcauga said the livelihood grant is a support service under Child Labor-Free Barangay Project's Kabuhayan para sa Magulang nga Batang Manggagawa (KASAMA) and aims to provide the parents of the child laborers income-earning opportunity, especially during the off-milling season.

The association which was headed by Estrella Lanuza is into vegetable production and is also assisted by the World Vision under its ABK3 LEAP program. Under an agreement signed in May 2012, World Vision is collaborating with DOLE in the implementation of the Philippine Program against Child Labor by helping provide direct educational assistance to child laborers and livelihood support to their families.

According to Director Sarcauga, Ormoc City Mayor Edward Codilla has expressed commitment to see to it that the women and their children are removed from engaging in hazardous or exploitative labor in the sugar industry.

Four barangays in Ormoc City that are targeted by the Child Labor-Free Barangay Project include Barangay Dolores, Barangay Dayhagan, Juaton and Matica-a.

Activities are funded by the World Vision and the multi-sectoral district tripartite council. Many children in these areas are involved in sugar cane planting and harvesting, which deprives them the opportunity to go to school.