DoLE sends child laborers back to schoolBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—After years working on sugarcane farms in Iloilo, several child laborers are going back to school.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the government has provided 52 parents in San Enrique, Iloilo, with almost P400,000 in livelihood grants so they won’t have to send their children to work in sugar fields anymore.
“The parents promised to return their children to school, where they really belong,” said Baldoz, who commended the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region VI Office for its efforts in the Child Labor-Free campaign.
Most poor families in San Enrique put their children to work to augment the family income. These children work long hours in sugar plantations, leaving little time for school.
Poverty and the lack of livelihood opportunities have been recognized as among the factors that lead parents to put their children to work. Some types of labor endanger the childrens’ lives.
Baldoz, who recently visited Barangay Antipolo in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, where she witnessed the removal of 100 working children from sugarcane farms and their return to school through DOLE assistance, said the P397,000 would enable the parents of the child laborers of San Enrique to start livelihood enterprises that could earn them additional income.
Citing a report by Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom, Baldoz said the 52 parents will use the DOLE assistance to produce organic fertilizer and engage in food processing.
In this latest effort to curb child labor, the DOLE regional office worked with the Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation and the Iloilo State College of Fisheries–San Enrique Campus to identify the parents of child laborers in the town.