Excitement radiated at the CAP Development Center in Balayan, Batangas last July 11, 2014 as more than one hundred fifty ABK3 LEAP partners from the five municipalities of Lian, Nasubgo, Tuy, Balayan and Calaca and twelve of their barangays gathered for the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement signaling the kick-off of the Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS), Barangay-based HELP ME Program and inclusion of ABK3 partner barangays in the Child Labor Free Barangays campaign of DOLE.
Spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Batangas in collaboration with ABK3 LEAP Partners ERDA Foundation, ChildFund Philippines and Sugar Industry Foundation Inc. (SIFI), this initiative envisions the localization of the Philippine Government’s Convergence Program through the Barangay-based HELP ME (Health, Education, Livelihood, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Monitoring, and Evaluation) Strategy. The partnership brought together provincial stakeholders including DOLE, DILG, DepEd, PSWDO, Provincial Health Office, TESDA, DTI, NBI Calabarzon, PIA and ABK3 LEAP to provide support to the 12 barangays in their journey to becoming Child Labor Free Barangays. In support to this, a Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS) will be established at the barangay level to ensure that child labor situation is regularly tracked and updated.
“May magandang bukas pang mahihintay kahit mahirap lang (A bright future awaits, even for the poor),” said DOLE IVA Regional Director Zeny Angara-Campita.
“Ang child labor ay concern ng lahat (Child labor is everyone’s concern),” said Mayor Rosario Abacible of Nasugbo. This was seconded by Mayor Isagani Bolompo of Lian who raised the need to sustain and replicate such programs in other barangays.
Batangas is one of the first to pioneer the localization of the Convergence Program, bringing together important stakeholders in ending child labor through community-based support to children, families and communities. In 2012, the sugar industry stakeholders in Batangas, in partnership with DOLE, DepEd, DILG, DSWD, and civil society organizations formulated and passed a Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Elimination of Child Labor in the Sugar Industry in Batangas, the second of its kind in the Philippines next to Bukidnon.
The event also witnessed the first public performance of the newly organized Lian Theatre Group, bringing the crowd into awareness on child labor. They ended their act with a call that it takes a whole community to build a child.