Issue of May 5, 2019
     
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41,940 kids in CAR at risk of child labor
by Janice Dioas

The Department of Labor and Employment-Cordillera is working to stop children from having to work at an early age through the “Project Angel Tree.”

DOLE-Cordillera Director Exequiel Ronie Guzman said through the project, parents are aided to provide for their family’s needs so that the children would not have to skip school and work.

Through the project, which is a component of DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination program that started in 2001, an array of social services and supplies, work, and training opportunities are made available to the parents of child laborers.

“We offer the parents livelihood and other alternative ways to provide the needs of the family because the reason of child labor is the lack of income, so that the children can stop working and pursue their studies,” he said.

Children from low-income families are sometimes forced to work and help earn for their families.

Guzman said that there were no documented child laborers in the Cordillera. However, children at risk of labor were mostly found working in the farms, services, and the manufacturing sector where their families are engaged in.

“What we documented were children at risk who can be a potential victim of child labor,” Guzman said.

Patrick Rillorta, DOLE information officer, said that based on a 2011 survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were 2.097 million child laborers and children at risk.

DOLE targets to eliminate at least 630,000 by the end of 2022.

He said in the Cordillera, the survey showed that there are 41,940 children at risk of child labor, which is hoped to be eliminated in full or least cut by one fourth by 2022.

In 2018, out of the 2,300 target, the Philippine Program Against Child Labor profiled some 2,085 children who were already receiving assistance from DOLE and Project Angel Tree.

The children are located in the different provinces of the Cordillera – Abra, 341; Apayao, 312; Baguio, 341; Benguet, 341; Ifugao, 126; Kalinga, 312; and Mountain Province, 312.

Based on data, there were 186 children at risk who were referred for different services, 526 provided with educational assistance, while 128 children and parents were provided with livelihood assistance.

Project Angel Tree is a collaboration of DOLE with other government agencies and the private sector.


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