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PIA Press Release

Parents enlightened on child labor education

by Carina L. Cayon

Davao City (16 June) -- Around seventy parents, whose children were engaged in labor, attended a child labor awareness seminar in an aim to encourage them to bring back and let their children stay in school.

This was bared in an interview by Patrick Henry Asiņero, provincial education officer for Davao and Compostela Valley of the ABK 2 Initiative of the World Vision Development Foundation.

Just before the opening of classes this week in public schools, Asiņero said that a total of 108 parents of "children working in the worst forms of child labor" (WFCL) and those at risk and enrolled at F. Calderon Elementary School in Bunawan, Davao City, were provided on Friday with lectures on child labor issues, the importance of education, responsible parenthood and livelihood opportunities.

Asiņero said that this awareness-raising activity was part of the continuing advocacy to "combat child labor through education" in the face the ABK 2 Initiative or the second phase of the Pag-aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan (Education for the Children's Future) which is being spearheaded by the World Vision and funded by the United States Department of Labor.

He said that the activity was also in time for the observance of the World's Day Against Child-Labor which was celebrated on June 12.

According to Asiņero, the F. Calderon Elementary School is one of ABK 2 Initiative recipients of its program's direct educational assistance because of the presence of children in WFCL and children at risk.

He said that ABK 2 Initiative started to provide assistance to children of the said school in 2008, after children as young as five years old up to 17 were found to have worked in a quarry business near the school, to help their parents keep up with the family's daily needs, which forced them to temporarily or permanently stop schooling.

He added that other children were also engaged in scavenging in Bunawan. They were forced to work at a tender age because of poverty and in effect neglected their education.

Asiņero said that at present, the ABK 2 Initiative is helping around 200 children in WFCL and children at risk in F. Calderon Elementary School with its educational assistance through the provision of school supplies.

He added that if there are miscellaneous fees or contributions in school, the ABK2 Initiative also provides for this through paying in kind (school supplies) directly to the school.

Asiņero explained that in this way it is helping the parents and children to be enticed to go back to school and continue schooling.

He said that a total of 793 children in WFCL and children at risk are set to receive their school supplies last week of June yet. These children are found in the areas of Toril where they are engaged in scavenging and in Bunawan (quarrying and scavenging), both in Davao City.

The other recipients, he stated, are also found in Pantukan, Compostela Valley where children are engaged in small-scale mining and working in banana plantations.

Other programs that the ABK 2 Initiative offers are capacity-building for the children, livelihood skills training and seminars for the parents in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

Asiņero further explained that ABK 2 Initiative "seeks to contribute to the sustainable reduction of exploitive child labor in the Philippines."

He said that the project is in collaboration with DOLE which heads the Philippine-Time Bound Program (PTBP) for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and the Department of Education (DepEd). (PIA-XI) [top]

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