Sugar is sweeter without child labor. Child labor project ABK3 LEAP concludes its 5-year implementation with the turn-over of its database of assisted children and households to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during its 15th and final Advisory Committee Meeting on August 25, 2015 at the Labor Governance Learning Center of DOLE in Intramuros, Manila.
ABK3 LEAP, the largest child labor project funded by the US Department of Labor (USDOL) in the Philippines to date, targeted to reduce child labor in sugarcane farms through a multi-sector approach integrating initiatives in livelihoods, education, advocacy, social protection and research. Ending in August 2016, the project was able to assist 54,479 children who were engaged or at at-risk of working in sugarcane farms from 30,412 households in 148 barangays, 43 cities/ municipalities and 11 sugar producing provinces in the country. The project, implemented by a consortium of organizations led by World Vision Development Foundation, supports the Philippine Program Against Child Labor’s (PPACL) target of one million Batang Malaya by 2025.
Through ABK3 LEAP and DOLE’s collaboration, at least 41% of the project’s assisted barangays are now certified as Child Labor-Free Barangays. At least 30 million pesos worth of DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) funds have also been accessed by partner barangay LGUs to provide livelihoods assistance to more than 5,000 households to ensure sustained and alternative income sources, especially during off season or tiempo muerto in sugarcane farming. Half of the grants leveraged from DOLE are benefiting families in Negros Occidental, the sugar bowl of the country, where more than 50% of project beneficiaries are located.
“ABK3 LEAP is thankful to the members of the Advisory Committee for journeying with us. We also commend the Department of Labor and Employment for being one of our staunch partners in the project. We are confident that they will continue to work with our partner communities and ensure that they will truly become child labor-free,” shares Project Director Daphne Culanag.
Aside from the database, ABK3 LEAP also handed over the good practices that have contributed to the withdrawal of 86% of the child laborers assisted by the project to its Advisory Committee members. ABK3 LEAP’s Advisory Committee is a vital project structure that meets quarterly to provide national level advice and coordination on program and policy issues in livelihoods, education, labor/sugar industry, and children’s welfare and is composed of representatives from government agencies DOLE, DILG, DepEd, SRA, CWC, and sugar industry players Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI), National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP), PSMA and Sugar Alliance.