DepEd, ABK2 help combat child labor
Iloilo City (28 October) -- Access to formal education of child laborers in the municipalities of Estancia and Ajuy in this province has been given more emphasis with the partnership between the Department of Education and the ABK2 (Pag-Aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan) initiative.
ABK2 is the second phase of the ABK initiative led by the World Vision Development Foundation and funded by the United States Department of Labor in 2003. It is a special project for combating child labor through education in the Philippines.
The ABK2 goes by the slogan TEACH Now! (Take Every Action for Children Now!) to emphasize the urgent action needed to help children working in the worst forms of child labor.
Recently, forty-seven teachers from both elementary and high school from the municipalities of Estancia and Ajuy completed the "ABK Teacher's Training Series", a component of the ABK2 initiative.
During the recognition ceremony held in Iloilo City, Department of Education (DepEd) 6 Director Mildred Garay commended the project which according to her will help DepEd realize its goal to increase the participation and retention rates of children in public schools.
Garay challenged as well the teacher graduates to use whatever they have gained from the training to get these children back to school, to keep them there and finish their basic education.
The two-month long training experience equipped teachers a deeper understanding of the child labor issue and the importance of education as intervention.
She likewise commended the framework within which the training has been anchored focusing in the five aspects of social development such as research, advocacy and networking, direct service, documentation, and training facilitation.
Estancia and Ajuy are two of the five areas covered by the project in Iloilo. Other areas are the municipalities of Duenas and San Enrique and Iloilo City.
As of September 2009, based on the Technical Progress Report of the ABK2 Initiative there are 2,104 children engaged in various forms of child labor and 546 more are at risk in these five areas.
The same report showed that Estancia has the most number of children laborers with 660 followed by Ajuy with 598, San Enrique with 474, Duenas with 269 and Iloilo City with 474.
Most of these children are working in the sugarcane plantation. Others are into scavenging, fishing and domestic work. There are also children reported to be in commercial sexual exploitation and commercial agriculture. (PIA) [top]