P224M allocated for employment, livelihood assistance for Bicol in 2014 – DOLE

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DAET, Camarines Norte,– Some P224 million will be allocated to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for employment and livelihood assistance program in the Bicol region for next year, according to official of the DOLE regional office in Bicol.

This was bared by DOLE assistant regional director Ronnie Exequiel Guzman during the Strategic Planning Workshop for Bicol Anti-Child Labor Committee (Bicol-RACLC) held October 22-24 at the Bagasbas LightHouse Hotel, Resort and Restaurant here.

Guzman said that with the abolished Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) the decision of the Congress to allocate the previous budget to selected agencies delivering basic social services which includes the DOLE. He said that the allocation will be based from the P7.7M in the previous budget of each district congressmen in the Bicol region that will be downloaded to DOLE in 2014 for employment and livelihood assistance program.

Guzman said that the Bottoms-Up-Budgeting (BUB) system is another source of fund that can be used to combat the problem on child labor, wherein allocation for DOLE Bicol through BUBis P29M in 2013 and P45M for 2014.

He said that with more funds, more beneficiaries will be given assistance and accomplishment would be greater. He said that the DOLE Bicol has already forged alliance with the Deparment of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol to provide livelihood package of assistance to the graduating Pantawid Pamilya benefiicaries who have children at risk to child labor aiming to transform their social condition from sustenance to self-sufficiency.

He said that it is alarming that the incidence of child labor keeps on increasing wherein Bicol region ranks 2nd to the highest, region 3 being number one (1) in terms of child labor incidence at around 304,000 as indicated in the survey conducted by National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2011. It is in the provisions of our Constitution that the state is mandated to defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development, he said.

He cited that in pursuing this constitutional mandate, the present administration under its Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) strategic framework for 2007-2015 which is a network of mutually enabling social partners such as DOLE, DSWD,DepEd, DOH, DILG, DOJ, DA, Council for the Welfare of Children, NEDA, PIA, NSO, National Youth Commission, Labor and Employers Organizations, NGOs and other allied agencies, shall work towards the prevention, withdrawal, healing and reintegration of child workers into a caring society.

He also said that in order to comply with its obligations under the United Nation Conventions on the rights of the child particularly International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and ILO Convention 182 on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, our country had enacted RA 9231 otherwise known as an “Act providing for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and affording stronger protection for the working child, amending RA 7610 also known as the Special protection of children against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination act.”

He said that reaffirming its vision in the 1990 World Declaration on Education and under the Millenium Development Goals, our country is committed to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

The Phil. Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) envisions a Child Labor Free Philippines. To address this social menace whose root cause is abject poverty requires an effective convergence of allied partners and their efficient deployment of convergent efforts, resources, strategies, coherent policy goals and directions for integrated service delivery, he said.

He said that the council will work together in formulating a strategic plan that will guide in fight against child labor and eventually will bring to the destination of achieving inclusive growth and decent work.

Meanwhile based on the survey of the National Household Targetting System of the DSWD there are 3,360 child laborers in the Bicol Region that need to be given assistance of livelihood according to the DOLE. The 304,000 data of the NSO in 2011 are child labor incidence which means a child who worked of at least one (1) hour to earn a living.

The said council will focus their strategic plans and programs programs on the 3,360 child laborers in the region idenfied by the DSWD. Of these, Camarines Norte has 356, Camarines Sur - 1,101; Sorsogon – 540; Albay – 707; Masbate – 460 and Catanduanes – 196.

Based on the formulated strategic plans and programs the Anti-Child Labor Council agreed to conduct activities focusing on the advocacy and capability building, institutionalization, service delivery, and monitoring and evaluation. DOLE Bicol on the other hand will provide livelihood assisistance to the parents of child laborers identified under the NHTS survey of the DSWD.(MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte).