Issue of October 7, 2018
     
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Project Angel Tree "Lapis, Papel, atbp": Together we can make a difference

Every child has a story. For the 2,097,000 Filipino child laborers and children at risk to child labor, that story is filled with sadness, loneliness, and deprivation of education. Child labor hinders children’s education and it also deprives millions of kids of education. Children who drop out of school and join the labor force early are more disadvantaged later in life because of lack of education and basic skills. The effects of child labor can be seen long into the adult life of these children.

In the Cordillera, there are 40,940 child laborers based on the data gathered from the Philippine Statistics Authority and the International Labor Organization.

Child labor is, generally speaking, work by children that harm them or exploit them in some way physically, mentally, morally, or by blocking their access to education. But not all work is bad for children. Some social scientists point out that some kinds of work may be completely unobjectionable – except if the work is exploiting the child. For instance, a child who delivers newspapers before school might actually benefit from learning how to work, gaining responsibility, and a bit of money. However, if the child is not paid, then he or she is being exploited.

Project Angel Tree is a component of the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program. Its main objective is to provide an array of social services that range from food, clothing, educational assistance or school supplies, and even work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors to child laborers and their families. It aims to improve the economic and social conditions of child laborers and their families and increase the number of allies and advocates of child labor prevention and elimination, especially the worst form of child labor.

Project Angel Tree “Lapis, Papel Atbp” has already provided assistance to several child laborers, children at risk to child labor, and working children in Bangued, Abra; Sagada and Bontoc in Mountain Province; Balbalan, Kalinga; Buguias, Itogon, La Trinidad, and Mankayan in Benguet; and several barangays in Baguio City.

This time, Project Angel Tree “Lapis, Papel ATBP” will provide educational assistance or school supplies, books, clothes, shoes, slippers, bags, candies, and toys for the children of Barangay Ucab, Itogon. The effects of Typhoon Ompong are a powerful reminder of the type of disaster experienced by many communities in Itogon, Benguet; Baguio City, and the rest of the Cordillera.

There are three schools in Ucab barangay, namely Gold Creek Elementary School, Midas ES, and the Ucab ES. Since Typhoon Ompong unleashed strong winds and incessant rains on the evening of Sept.14, life has not been easy for the children of Ucab who are still recovering from the destruction left behind by the storm. But “Nadine,” a nine-year old Ucab resident, and her friend “Christine,” 10, are missing school days. The girls study in Ucab ES.

During the typhoon, the bunkhouse where Nadine lives with her parents and siblings lost its roof, but remained standing. Christine’s bunkhouse house, however, was unable to withstand the heavy winds and ultimately collapsed. She lost everything, including all of her schoolbooks and supplies. Today she lives in one of the classrooms of an elementary school, which now serves as a shelter to families left homeless by Typhoon Ompong.

Project Angel Tree “Lapis, Papel Atbp” has been adopted by a network of donors, benefactors, contributors, and sponsors called “Angels.” This program is dedicated to providing those in need of school supplies with the tools necessary to be successful in the classroom. Through sponsorship of our network of donors, we can provide free backpacks filled with essential school supplies for kids like notebooks, crayons, pencils, pad paper, ball pens, and watercolor.

For the past four years, this continuing project is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capital; JCI Baguio Sunflower; Baguio Lodge No. 67 of the Free and Accepted Masons; St. Louis University Boys High OchoTres; University of the Philippines Baguio NAMNAMA; SLU LES ‘79ers; Baguio Midland Courier; ABS-CBN; JOMARCANN General Construction; Hotel Supreme; Pugo Adventure or Pugad; GMT Interlink; SITEL, United Korean Community Association in the Philippines-Northern Luzon; United Architects of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet Chapter; RIMATYRE Construction Services; DOLE-CAR government partners: Inter-Agency Against Trafficking; Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-CAR; Department of Social Welfare and Development-CAR; Department of Health-CAR; Police Regional Office-Cordillera; Department of Education-CAR; city government of Baguio; DOLE regional coordinating council member agencies; and the Philippine Information Agency.

The Project Angel Tree is a manifestation of the joint efforts of the government and the private sector in keeping children away from dangerous workplace, exhorting parents and other adults to ensure that children are always protected and not exploited. Today we can make a difference.

For donations, please contact us at 443-5339, 443-5338 or 0927-342-6420, or you can bring your donations at DOLE-CAR Bldg, No. 1 Cabinet Hill, Baguio City.

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