DEL CARMEN, SURIGAO DEL NORTE – 50 profiled child laborers in Siargao Islands manifested full gratefulness to DOLE and partner agencies and organizations for receiving gifts from benefactors during the Project Angel Tree 2022 held last November 4, 2022 at the municipality of Del Carmen.

“Angels” or benefactors Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL), Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC), Tango Romeo Gen. Construction, Surigao Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (SEDMFI), and Pacific Nickel Philippines, Inc. (PNPI) gave grocery packages, school supplies, clothes, and cash prizes to the children.

Certificates of Guarantee for livelihood assistance under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) were also awarded to five parents ensuring that they are pipelined beneficiaries for the 2023 implementation of the Kabuhayan program. The provision of livelihood assistance is one of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) interventions to prevent and eliminate child labor in the country. The municipality of Del Carmen committed to assist the parents in the preparation of their livelihood project proposals and other documentary requirements.

The beneficiaries were thankful for the early Christmas gifts received, “Salamat karajaw sa injo tag hatag na grocery ug baro. Naa na kami dugang maluto ug makaon sa among bayay, ug naa na ako dugang masuot na baro sa ako pag skwela (Thank you very much for the groceries and clothes. We now have addtional food at home and clothes to wear for school.),” said Mark, not his real name, one of the beneficiaries. Mark is a 12-year-old who worked as a laborer in the public market when he was profiled.

The program was graced by Del Carmen Municipal Mayor Hon. Alfredo M. Coro II, DOLE Surigao del Norte Field Office (DOLE SDNFO) Head May C. Velonta, SDNFO Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) focal person Arciazel L. Lagrama, Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Manager Riavida Soriaga, and Municipal Social Worker and Development Officer (MSWDO) Daniel Dumpa Jr.

In his welcome message, Mayor Coro stressed the role of the parents as pillars in a child’s life and the importance of providing children with education. He also highlighted the advocacies and programs of Del Carmen as interventions to prevent child labor.

During the program, Chief Velonta explained the program’s main objective, “The Project Angel Tree is a component of the CLPEP wherein the “tree” represents the assistance provided to the children and their families by their benefactors referred to as “angels,” who support the advocacy on the rights of a Filipino child, especially on the access of a safe home and a secure education.”

CLPEP is a program of DOLE that contributes to the government’s Philippine Program Against Child Labor. It aims to prevent and eliminate child labor in its worst form through profiling and providing relevant assistance and services. (CMJCC, CLP-Community Facilitator, DOLE-SDNFO)