DILG Regional News
DILG 13 moves to end child labor in AgNorSeptember 14, 2012
DILG Region 13 and other regional line agencies in CARAGA took a firm stand against child labor by signing a Memorandum of Agreement to signify their firm commitment in putting an end to child labor activities, particularly in the province of Agusan del Norte.
DILG Region 13 Director Lilibeth Famacion said that the MOA signing was an offshoot of the reported incident of child laborers at Brgy. Bagang, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte labeled as “Batang Kalabaw” characterized by a child or children who pulls or drags cut log(s) to a designated place where it is hauled or loaded to a truck. The cut log(s) are dragged or pulled by strapping the end of a rope around the body of the child with the other end of the rope strapped around the log, a worst form of child-labor.
“Many children as young as seven years old regardless of gender were victims of this cruel activity and this will exacerbate the incidence of illiteracy, malnutrition and exploitation among children,” Famacion said. “If these children are working and are not given proper education, they will grow-up to be delinquents and contribute to societal decay,” she added.
Under the agreement, the DILG will focus its support through the formulation of ordinances against child labor in the barangay and the creation and strengthening of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) with the primary aim to eliminate child laborers.
The parties to the MOA are the regional directors of DOLE, DSWD, DOH, DA, DepEd, DENR, and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples; Jabonga Mayor Glicerio Monton; Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John Amante; and representatives from the People’s Management Association of the Philippines and the Caraga Family Welfare Council Inc.
Also present during the MOA signing were Undersecretary of Labor and Employment Lourdes M. Transmonte, Congresswoman Angelica Amante-Matba, Director of International Labor Organization Lawrence Jeff Johnson and Undersecretary of Bureau of Workers in Special Concerns Chita de Guzman Celendro.
Ten identified “batang kalabaw” in Brgy. Bagan received educational supplies and educational assistance, while their parents received carabaos and signed a written agreement, translated into their own dialect, manifesting their commitment to send their children to school and to never again allow their children to engage in hazardous child labor.
- Florian Faith Jr. P. Bayawa