Press Releases
DOLE LPO PARTNERS WITH PRIVATE ESTABLISHMENTS TO ELIMINATE CHILD LABOR

“We understand that this pandemic will affect the most vulnerable sectors of the society particularly the families of child laborers. It is within our mandate to look after them especially during these times by providing inter-agency assistance as much as we can. We are determined to stay on course in the prevention and elimination of child labor cases.” This message from DOLE Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman has fortified the commitment of the Department eliminate child labor. 

With this commitment in progressively eliminating child labor in the communities, DOLE Laguna Provincial Office (DOLE LPO), with its commitment to contribute to the goal of eliminating child labor, partnered with Laguna Labor Management Council, Inc. (LLMCI) and private companies to cater the needs of identified child laborers in the province. 

“This is a very challenging task yet attainable using the right strategy and partnership between and among different stakeholders. We need to set down rigorous steps from profiling, to needs assessment, to referral, and to provision of services were conducted.” Director Guzman said.

Director Guzman reported to DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III that in 2016, some 100 child laborers were identified in the Municipality of Pila, Laguna through the help of Municipal Public Employment Service Office. DOLE LPO conducted validation and needs assessment of these identified child laborers. With the help of PESO PILA, identified child laborers were given aptitude test to determine who among them may be endorsed to companies sponsoring scholarship. Among them is Shena Marie Malinao Canalda who is an incoming Grade 9 student and 15 years of age during that time.

 

During the Donors’ Forum facilitated by DOLE LPO on May 16, 2016, participated by 16 companies, Shena is one of the hopefuls to be recipient of educational assistance. Indeed, her hope became a reality as she was chosen to be one of the ten (10) new scholars under DOLE LPO’s “Adopt-A-Child-Laborer Program” and EMS-CAI-TBP-FIF Scholarship Program.

The scholarship grant was awarded through a Memorandum of Agreement executed by DOLE Region IV-A and EMS Components Assembly Inc.  With the help of the Donors’ Forum initiated by DOLE LPO, EMS CAI extended its program to identified child laborers. Under the program, beneficiary-scholars will receive allowances, school supplies, and relevant seminars with the condition of maintaining the required average grade for the extension of scholarship benefits.

During the celebration of World Day Against Child Labor 2016, the spirit of generosity and compassion illuminated the faces of former child laborers as they received their scholarship grants. 

It was but a memory from the time that Shena Marie Canalda would have to wake up at unholy hours of the morning to peddle pandesal in their small community at Barangay Concepion in Pila, Laguna to support her family and education. With the help of the scholarship grant, Sheena continuously strives for her future and became diligent enough to receive awards during her high school days. She was awarded “With Honors” during Junior High School and was given “With Honors” award during Senior High School. As of this writing, Shena is now a proud Mechanical Engineering student at Laguna University (LU), among the Dean’s Lister and still maintaining the required average grade and qualifying her for extended scholarship benefits.

Her family was also provided with the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program for the families of Child Laborers. She and her family are currently engaged in the full operation of a community bakery that has helped her kabarangays during the initial community lockdown of 2020 by providing supply of freshly baked bread and confectionaries, giving service back to the community in times of need.

In an interview conducted in April 2021, she and her family has been quoted to say that through DOLE LPO’s program, they have been able to support their family’s daily need, and had been provided opportunity, with a little self-help and perseverance, to rise from poverty.  Joel Canalda, father of Sheena mentioned: 

“Malaking tulong po sa amin and programa ng DOLE, dahil dati po ay lumuluwas pa po ako para magtrabaho sa Cavite bilang construction worker. Ngayon po ay kasama ko na ang aking pamilya at nagagabayan ang mga bata. Sa tulong po ng DOLE, dagdagan na lang po ng kaunting sipag at tiyaga ay makakaraos kami sa hirap ng buhay”. 

DOLE Laguna Provincial Director Guido R. Recio recognizes the diligence of child laborers turned scholars. According to him, the Office has been advocating the adopt-a-child-labor program to bridge needs and opportunities.

“With DOLE LPO’s adopt-a-child-labor program more and more children like Shena could go to school without the need to work for their allowance,” Director Recio added.

Shena is only one of the many child laborers given the opportunity through the joint efforts of DOLE LPO Anti-Child Labor program, LLMCI, and Pila Municipal LGU through Pila Municipal PESO (National Best PESO Awardee 2016-2017 and 2019).

This only proves that the fight against child labor practices and the accomplishment of ending child labor practices by 2025 can be achieved through the coordinated efforts and public-private partnership of all stakeholders involved.

 

BY:

RAYMOND R. RAMOS
Child Labor Focal Person
DOLE Laguna Provincial Office

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2021-05-28
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