60 child laborers get treat during DOLE's 72nd anniversary
by RP Escalante
LEGAZPI CITY (14 December) -- "Ngayon lang po ulit ako nakatikim nito. Yung last po nung isang taon -- outreach program din," said Mariano while slowly munching his spaghetti-fried chicken snack tandem during the anniversary outreach program celebration of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol at the Albay Park and Wildlife on December 8.
"Maraming maraming salamat po sa DOLE. Sana marami pa kayong matulungan na tulad namin," teary-eyed Mariano, a 12-year-old candle vendor at the side streets of Daraga town in Albay, said sheepishly.
DOLE Bicol's 72nd anniversary celebration 'Pamaskong handog para sa mga batang manggagawa at mga batang lansangan' was organized by the Regional Coordinating Council of the DOLE Family (DOLE-RCC) to impart at least a cheerful and meaningful Christmas to some 60 child laborers of Daraga, Albay.
Most of the children were candle vendors and car-wash boys under the 6-15 year-old age bracket and to them a P75 snack would be worth their whole day budget for 3-full meals.
"These children could not even afford a trip to Albay Park and Wildlife. It would cost them their entire earnings for the day "DOLE-Bicol asst. regional director Alvin M. Villamor said.
The half-day activity was packed with games and amusements for the children.
Aside from heavy snack, the children were also given some P800 worth of grocery items, 2 kilos rice, toys, balloons, party hats and used clothing.
All these prizes and give-aways came from the 7 agencies of DOLE-RCC composed of TESDA, NLRC, NCMB, RTWPB, POEA, OWWA and DOLE.
Although rain was heavily pouring and flooded the streets going to the venue, DOLE-RCC employees were determined to spend time with the children.
"We were definitely soaked. It was a storm-lie weather. But we can not back out for the children were counting on us and it is a no holds barred event," said Nelia A. Olivera, IMSD chief.
The actual plan was to give the children a tour around the Albay Park and Wildlife before commencing with the program. But bad weather did not help for it to materialize and instead the children were given additional gifts and toys and indoor games.
DOLE was prompted to end the program before 12-noon for the children's safety.
The DOLE-RCC hope to do this event every year said Villamor and added "we find it satisfying that instead of an extravagant celebration, we gave services to the community and the less fortunate." (DOLE) [top]