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Profiled child laborers savor the spirit of Christmas through the goods and services provided by the benefactors of Project Angel Tree.

The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 6 through its Capiz Field Office (DOLE RO6-CFO) granted the Christmas wishes of 92 child workers (64 from Brgy. Bangonbangon and 28 from Sitio Balogo, Brgy. Pagbunitan, all in Sigma, Capiz) by providing food with a dozen of eggs, hygiene kits, spaghetti packs, manna packs, free fluoride application and dental kits, clothing, school materials and other forms of assistance through Project Angel Tree held at Brgy. Bangonbangon, Sigma, Capiz.

Project Angel Tree aims to gather and grant the wishes of child laborers through the building up of a network of patrons and supporters of the national efforts against child labor.  Donors, benefactors, contributors and sponsors of the program are called “angels”.  Services under the program include food, clothing, shelter, mentoring, livelihood, educational and medical assistance and other work and training opportunities for target child labor-beneficiaries.

“Our activity is a manifestation of the joint efforts between DOLE and its social partners in keeping children away from dangerous works to ensure they are always protected and not exploited. The project encourages children from identified barangays to continue their education and steer clear from doing laborious tasks that will endanger their lives and health,” said DOLE RO6-CFO OIC Head, Amalia N. Judicpa during the program.

Ms. Judicpa also advised the parents of the child laborers to prioritize the education of their children and prevent their exposure from child labor cases. She said that in the face of poverty, the government, especially DOLE, will always make various interventions to prevent and eliminate child labor in the country such as the Project Angel Tree.

Regional Director Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez, Jr., calls on all sectors and stakeholders to actively campaign against child labor. He reiterated the value of the children as future workers and leaders who will propel the progress of the nation. “Keeping these children away from child labor will send them back to school to receive proper education that guarantees of their bright future. A united stand of all the stakeholders to end and eliminate child labor is needed to uphold and promote the rights and welfare of the children,” RD Rodriguez said.

DOLE RO6-CFO personnel, together with representatives from different partner-organizations such as Kiwanis Club of Sumakwel, Philippine Dental Association Capiz Chapter, Capiz Halaran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and Cals Poultry Supply alongside the Brgy. Bangonbangon officials and parents of the child laborers made the spirit of Christmas alive and burning in the hearts and memories of the identified child laborers in the municipality of Sigma.

Madamo guid nga salamat sa DOLE kag sponsors sa ila ginhatag sa amon ilabi na sa spaghetti kay kung kami lang, indi guid kami maka-afford bakal sini (Thank you so much DOLE and to the sponsors for the gift especially the spaghetti-if from our own pocket, we cannot afford to buy these,” said a thankful JB, one of the child laborers after availing the goods and services. The child laborers were very grateful for what they received. According to some, it is their first time to have received these much goods and that the distribution was very timely for the celebration of Christmas Day.

Other partners include SM Store-Roxas, Filamer Christian University, Capiz Electric Copperative, Hercor College, LGU-Tapaz Public Employment Service Office and Lion Heart Security Agency.