Press Releases
LOOKING OUT FOR LAGUNA’S LOST DREAMS

People may be browsing their smart phones, adding to cart some items for the 2.2 sale, and thinking of their next Tiktok moves while reading this. Some may not care while streaming on Netflix movies in the comfort of their sofa. But, has anyone ever wondered about the lives of children forced to work just to have a decent meal on the table?  It is about time to stop streaming and start thinking about Laguna’s Lost Dreams.

Would their dreams be lost forever? Worry not for Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena is determined to reclaim those dreams by empowering families and communities to end child labor through DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP).

Somewhere in Sta. Rosa Laguna, three sisters have lost their dreams. They are named after movie stars but their lives are not about fame, fortune and klieg lights. Separated from their sick mother, the children are under the custody of their 65-year-old father with no secure means of income.   Aged 10, 11, and 15, they long for nothing but the maternal care a child needs for holistic development since what they have at the moment is a stepmother so distant like the moon. 

Their world is not a daily dose of Tiktok videos and Facebook memories.  Every day, they rise up not in pursuit of dreams but survival by selling coffee, snacks and cigarettes on the streets. The two little sisters man a pedicab beside a dilapidated waiting shed along the national highway that caters to workers of a nearby electric company.

Clad in the clothes they woke up with, they are exposed to the heat and elements to make a living of P300 to P400 from morning until nighttime. If this is not heart-melting enough, imagine these kids are not allowed to eat items from the makeshift store in case they go hungry. They will not dare meet the stern face of their step mother once they consume food from the cart. Meanwhile, their older sister tends to a similar makeshift stall at a nearby home depot outlet.                   

With the supervision of DOLE Laguna Provincial Director Guido R. Recio, these children were profiled and submitted for livelihood and other forms of assistance through CLPEP implementation. It all started with Child Labor Profiling (CLP) carried out by the Anti-Child Labor staff comprised of a community facilitator and five government interns. The unit has implemented activities anchored on the national goal of reducing child labor.

The sisters were shy and withdrawn when CLPEP Focal Raymond R. Ramos, the head of the Anti-Child Labor Unit, arrived and began profiling them along with staffers.  Hesitant at first upon seeing strangers, the little girls eventually talked and poured out their life of woes. The team sought out the father and informed him of their purpose.  It will only be matter of time when the team would be back to restore their lost dreams with livelihood and scholarship assistance.

June 2020 saw the unit brainstorm for the creation of 2020 CLP outlook/review and breakdown of 2019 CLP Data. From July to October, they led the identification and validation of child labor parents as beneficiaries for livelihood.

The unit likewise led the review of 2018 Child Labor Program Data for referral to partner agencies and LGUs from September to October 2020. In the same month, the group was busy referring data of identified child laborers to LGUS and PLGU. The team members conducted selective validation of child labor data, processing of grant for 40 child labor beneficiaries in Magdalena, and the completion of the 2018-2019 Child Labor data report for the rest of the year.

If you are fond of adding items to your cart in your online shopping, why not add them to your heart and help in the advocacy of DOLE Laguna in eradicating Child Labor.  

LAGUNA’S LOST DREAMS. The Two Sisters Exposed To Child Labor In Laguna Tend To Their Makeshift Stall Selling Snacks Coffee And Cigarettes.

By Rudyboy R. Sinay

Senior LEO/LPO LIO

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2021-03-01
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