Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she will use the occasion of the 13th National PESO Congress, which kicks off on 25 September in Palo, Leyte, to deliver the message to child laborers and their parents that the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is very determined to defeat the scourge of child labor in the country.
“One of my activities in the 13th National PESO Congress is to inform our people in Eastern Visayas that we are working very hard to address the issue of child labor and tell them we are winning in this war to eliminate the menace,” Baldoz said.
While in Eastern Visayas, the labor and employment chief will award a grant of P335,000 in livelihood funds to 28 mothers of child laborers in the sugar industry belonging to the Dolores Livelihood Community Association (DOLICA) based in Barangay Dolores, Ormoc City.
The association, headed by Estrella N. Lanuza, is into vegetable production and is also being assisted by the World Vision under its ABK3 LEAP program. World Vision is collaborating with the DOLE, under an agreement signed in May 2012, in the implementation of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor by helping provide direct educational assistance to child laborers and livelihood support to their families.
DOLE Regional Office 8 Director Exequiel Sarcauga, who will accompany Secretary Baldoz in her visit to Ormoc City, said the livelihood grant is a support service under the Child Labor-Free Barangay Project’s Kabuhayan para sa mga Magulang ng Batang Manggagawa (KASAMA) and aims to provide the parents of the child laborers income-earning opportunity, especially during the off-milling season.
“Mayor Edward Codilla has expressed commitment to see to it that the women and their children are removed from engaging in hazardous or exploitative labor in the sugar industry,” Director Sarcauga said.
Barangay Dolores along with Barangays Dayhagan, Juaton, and Matica-a are the four barangays in Ormoc City targeted by the DOLE regional office under the Child Labor-Free Barangay Project.
In Tacloban, Secretary Baldoz will also issue a certificate for Child-Labor Free Establishment (CLFE) to the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR). The CLFE is one of five DOLE “good housekeeping” certificates, the other four being the Tripartite Certificate of Compliance with Labor Standards (TCCLS); Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan (GKK); National Productivity Olympics Award; and Outstanding Labor Management Council (LMC) Award for Industrial Peace, which are all part of the Incentivizing Compliance Program of the DOLE, an institutional reform calling for the convergence and integration of programs on labor law compliance to strengthen self-regulation and voluntary labor standards compliance among the country’s industries.
“PASAR, after having been recognized as the top establishment in the Visayas for its Family Welfare Program, will now be recognized for its commitment and exemplary adherence to the provisions of the Child Labor Law under Republic Act 9231,” said Baldoz.
The PASAR will also award the Secretary a certificate of appreciation, with Arthur Estrera and Noli Del Rosario, President of COPPER and Vice-President for Human Resource and Corporate Affairs of PASAR, respectively, and Sherlock Codilla, Industrial Relations Manager, hosting a simple ceremony.
In PASAR, Baldoz will also release the 2nd tranche of the DOLE’s P742,000 livelihood grant to the Concerned Organization of Progressive PASAR Employees for Reform, or COPPER, the rank-and-file union of the company which has established a water-refilling station in Brgy. Matlang, Isabel, Leyte to augment the income of union members and generate employment. The COPPER’s Lad-ok Water Refilling Station already employs four regular workers and is already counting income for the organization’s benefit.
On the 13th PESO Congress, Baldoz said the ultimate goal of the event is to ensure prompt, timely, and efficient delivery of employment services, along with the provision of recognition and livelihood assistance to native residents and outstanding employers in the Eastern Visayas region. She also said it is a venue for PESO managers to learn, exchange ideas, and showcase best practices on employment facilitation. More than 700 PESO managers representing the majority of the PESOs will attend the Congress.
“The theme of this year’s Congress is “PESO, Kabalikat at Gabay sa Disente at Matatag na Paghahanap-buhay” which Baldoz said aptly supports the goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda in promoting and advancing the goal of decent work.
“The conduct of the PESO Congress is also in line with efforts of the government to strengthen public-private sector partnerships that shall nurture and develop the country’s human resources, push back joblessness in the grassroots, and strengthen labor and employment facilitation in the country,” she said.