‘Children should be in school, not in farmlands’

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MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/ May 1) Children should be in school not working in fields, this was the stress in the celebration of the 111th Labor Day program on May 1 with about 3,000 workers in attendance to the ‘Lakaw para sa mga Bata sa Amihanang Mindanao’

Raul S. Valmores, Bukidnon provincial head of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE),  said they raised P65,180 from the P20-registration fee for the walk, which can be used to buy school supplies for children in areas identified to be havens of child labor.

Valmores said they veered away from the traditional Labor Day parade to focus on addressing the problem of child labor in the province. In Last year’s walk, they raised P63, 000, which was used to buy supplies for 2,000 chidren.

He added that the money raised will be used to buy school supplies, bags, t-shirts and sports paraphernalia for children in five of 13 barangays with high incidence of child labor in the province as identified by DoLE and the International labor organization (ILO).

The school supplies and other materials will be distributed before classes open in June, Valmores said.

He added that school principals and teachers in the 13 barangays will be tapped to help monitor and keep the targeted children in school.

Engr. Lemuel Ferrer, vice-chair for management of the Bukidnon Tripartite Industry Peace Council (BTIPC), reiterated Valmores’ message in his remarks.

Under the ILO-International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) in Bukidnon, a total of 2500 children have been targeted to be pulled out from the labor sector in 13 barangays.

Jed Mina of the ILO-IPEC Bukidnon said 1,500 of them are engaged in child labor while 1,000 are “at risk” or siblings of those engaged.

The 13 barangays under ILO-IPEC program in Bukidnon include barangays San Jose, Merangeran, Poblacion, Salawagan, Butong (all in Quezon town), Dologon, Base Camp, South Poblacion (all in Maramag town); Lumbo and Poblacion (in Valencia City) and San Jose, Linabo, and Managok in Malaybalay City, said Gracelie Ann Sombilon [ILO coordinator for child labor monitoring system (CLMS).

Participants to the walk were from various sectors including private establishments; provincial offices, city and municipal offices, and national agencies joined the walk. There were also participants from the 403rd brigade, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and other institutions.

The walk started in the former DXMB site along Fortich Street corner Claro M. Recto Street (fronting a local hotel), to the city plaza and to Kaamulan Open Theatre.

The first ‘Lakaw para sa mga bata’ was also during Labor Day in 2012. This year, Valmores added, the practice has been replicated in provinces within Region 10 with the initiative of the tripartite industrial peace councils. (Hazel A. Generalao/Bukidnon News.Net)