Press Releases
DOLE LAGUNA CONCLUDES 2021 WITH 120 BENEFICIARIES UNDER PROJECT ANGEL TREE

Every worker knows the value of every drop of sweat shed for every eight hours of work only to earn a daily wage for the family’s sustenance. Not one worker would wish any children to pay for the price of labor at a tender age. Childhood is supposed to be a stage for learning activities through fun play.

Perhaps it is for this reason that employees of JX Nippon Mining and Metals Philippines, Inc. made a generous donation out of their own pockets for a gift-giving activity with working children as beneficiaries. Labor unions at Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation and Monde Nissin Corporation have also made their respective contributions. All these gifts were welcomed alongside the shares extended by the management sector for the benefit of working children.

For over a decade, the Laguna Labor Management Council, Inc. in coordination with DOLE Laguna Provincial Office has been conducting gift-giving activities under the Project Angel Tree twice a year to children vulnerable to child labor. It is being held every June and December of the year by distributing school supplies, hygiene kits, and food packs. On top of it all, the beneficiaries get some free treats from major sponsors.

Every December, the Enchanted Kingdom opens its doors to profiled child laborers for free access to its many rides, attractions, and characters to get a share of the “Magical EKsperience.”

These activities have turned into joyful celebrations of gift-giving with Zenith Foods Corporation as a regular partner in sponsoring free Jollibee meals for several years.

Some partner companies have also been providing scholarship grants. EMS Components Assembly, Inc. has extended educational grants with The Bridge Project under the Francis I. Ferrer Foundation to children at risk of child labor. Beltontotoku Philippines, Inc. has been financing the education of some identified child laborers, too.

For the first time this year, tablets were distributed to selected beneficiaries from Ampleon Philippines, Inc., Beltontotoku Philippines, Inc., Motorcentral Sales Corporation, and First Choice Manpower Services. The gadgets are expected to aid students for audio-visual distance learning amid the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

Project Angel Tree has always been a constant reminder of what happens when resilience meets generosity. For every struggling family with children vulnerable to child labor, there is always refuge in an industry that is willing and able to help for a common cause. This way, the next generation can endure it all.

In the ceremonial gift-giving activity for the benefit of 120 profiled child laborers on 28 December 2021 at the Enchanted Kingdom, DOLE IV-A Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman underscored the role of the youth as the beacon of hope while relating with the struggles of working children and recognizing the obligation of parents and the state to look after the welfare of these kids. He remarked:

“I used to help out my parents by carrying 50 kilos of rice in grade school. It was a small sacrifice that I assumed without knowing the impact on my growth and development. From this experience, I would like to tell parents who are economically challenged in raising their children that the Department of Labor and Employment has livelihood programs and services for families to prevent and eliminate cases of child labor in the province. We should work hand in hand to ensure the bright future of the youth.”

The regional director was joined by Atty. Nepomuceno A. Leaño II, the OIC-Assistant Regional Director in promoting the programs and services of the Department such as the Special Program for the Employment of Students and the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program.

DOLE Laguna Provincial Director Guido R. Recio has already awarded kabuhayan grants to 25 families at risk of child labor that received sacks of rice and grocery items for retail sale to augment the household income.

The Office has been coordinating with local government units to implement profiling and needs assessment under the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program. Senior Labor and Employment Officer and Provincial CLPEP Focal, Mr. Raymond R. Ramos, along with his team of community facilitator and interns were able to identify 3,305 child laborers who were referred for necessary services. This program has been instrumental in the government’s effort to achieve a child-labor-free Philippines in the near future.

Among the profiled child laborers were the 60 and 120 beneficiaries under the Project Angel Tree in June and December, respectively. While only parents were allowed to attend the ceremonial gift-giving in June, the children were able to participate in December by observing the minimum public health and safety protocols. The children were chosen from different municipalities based on the profiling and assessment conducted.

LLMCi will continue to bridge the industry and these underprivileged children to be able to ease the latter’s economic burden even for a moment. The Project Angel Tree has already been a tradition for the council led by Mr. JJ Cano, Vice-Chair for Management, and Mr. Neil Natividad, Vice-Chair for Management. It may just endure many other decades in the future.

As long as there are people who understand the value of work and the stakes in the lives of working children, there will always be an opportunity to join hands and make a difference by keeping these kids in school as much as possible.

By:

Rudyboy R. Sinay
Senior LEO/LPO LIO

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2022-01-07
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