TACLOBAN CITY-In celebration of this year’s World Day Against Child Labor with the theme, “Buong Bansa, Lahat ng Bata, Sama-sama para sa Batang Malaya”, the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 8 through its North Leyte Field Office (NLFO), conducted a Project Angel Tree activity on June 12, 2023 at Robinson North, Abucay, this city.

The activity, held in convergence with the Regional Council Against Child Labor-Eastern Visayas (RCACL-EV), brought so much fun and benefitted 100 profiled child laborers from the municipalities of Tanauan and Tolosa in Leyte.

Engr. Emmanuel Y. de la Cruz, Head of NLFO, shared that through the support of the RCACL-EV and other benefactors or “angels”, each child received grocery packs, a backpack full of school supplies, one sack of 25kg rice, assorted toys, clothes, vitamins, and hygiene kits.

Also, 86 parents and guardians of the child laborers were awarded during the event, certificates of entitlement to a Rice Retailing Project worth P28,000 each under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP).

Alexis Yu, representing Rep.Yedda Marie Romualdez of the Tingog party-list, graced the activity together with DSWD-8 Regional Director Grace Subong, DOLE-8 Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena, and Assistant Regional Director Norman L. Uyvico.

Director Jalbuena thanked all the benefactors or ‘angels’ who donated for the said event to be realized. He likewise gave some words of encouragement to the children.
“To our children, we hope to give you that fresh ray of hope that will bring out the best in you and lead you to greater heights”, said Jalbuena.

Meanwhile, Director Subong, as vice-chair of the RCACL-EV, expressed continued commitment to ending child labor in the region.

“Ang DSWD po ay kaisa ng DOLE na tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kabataan lalo na ang tiyakin na sila ay malaya mula sa child labor,” said Subong.
Aside from the gifts, the children were likewise treated to some fun activities such as puppet show, magic show, and fun games, while their parents were given orientation on some of the DOLE’s programs and services. The DENR Mascot also brought happiness when it had a special dance number.

To cap the activity, a symbolic signing of the pledge of commitment was done by the different members of the RCACL-EV in support to a Child-Labor Free Philippines.
Simultaneous Project Angel Tree activities were also conducted by the different Field Offices of DOLE-8 in Ormoc City, Maasin City, Naval, Biliran, Catbalogan City, Borongan City and Catarman, Northern Samar, benefitting a total of 350 child laborers.

The Project Angel Tree is a component of the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program of the department which aims to improve economic and social conditions of the child laborer through provision of social services that range from food, clothing, educational supplies, and even work and training opportunities.(PR)