Cherry Joy Discaya-Garma
PINILI, Ilocos Norte – State agencies have started to train their attention on eliminating child labor in the Philippines after a national survey showed rising incidence of child labor since 2011.
Led by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the joint-effort involves a series of advocacy campaign on anti-child labor simultaneous with the launching of the convergence program dubbed “HELP ME,” which stands for health, education, livelihood, prosecution, monitoring and evaluation.
Teresa N. Bonavente, Social Welfare and Development head in Ilocos Norte, said the program aims to establish a child labor-free Philippines by 2016.
“We have converged to reduce and eliminate child-labor while servicing the needs of the poor, the main cause of child-labor,” Bonavente said.
Poor communities in Pinili town were chosen for the program’s pilot launch.
Village officials signified their support to the program through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DOLE.
She said agencies namely DOLE will provide livelihood, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Department of Education for education, the
Department of Health for health services and the Philippine National Police for the prosecution of cases and other services according to clients’ needs.
The monitoring and evaluation will come after the services have been provided.
“To ensure the program’s sustainability and effectiveness, we will conduct visits to evaluate if the services were properly utilized,” Bonavente said.
Other agencies involved in the program include the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), local governments and
Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).