With the immense drive to eliminate child labor in the province of Surigao del Norte, the Department of Labor and Employment Surigao del Norte Field Office (DOLE SDNFO) facilitated a series of activities to celebrate the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) with the local theme “Kapakanan at Kalagayan ng Batang Manggagawa: Sagipin, Tugunan, at Protektahan ng Bayan.”

As highlight of the WDACL, Project Angel Tree was conducted on June 12, 2022, alongside the 124th Philippine Independence Day Celebration at Philippine Gateway Hotel, Surigao City.

Project Angel Tree is a component of DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) that provides social services from sponsors or benefactors known as “angels” to the child laborers and their families like food assistance and educational assistance, among others. DOLE SDNFO implements this program since 2018 as a gift-giving activity to profiled child laborers in the province.

Twenty (20) profiled child laborers in Surigao City participated in the recently held event. Their parents were also invited to encourage them to prevent their children from engaging in child labor. Each child received school supplies and grocery items generously sponsored by several establishments in the province. These “Angel” benefactors were Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC), Nickel Base Construction and General Services, Polaris Construction Inc., and DAR-CARRECCO. Aside from the beneficiaries, the benefactors who witnessed the activity for the first time were also grateful to be part of the activity and to support the endeavors of the department against child labor.

“First time sa among company nga mo support sa Project Angel Tree and personally, it is my first time also nga makawitness sa activity. On behalf of our company, it is indeed an honor to be able to assist DOLE sa ginagmay namo nga pamaagi nga makahelp sa mga bata. We hope that the parents will value our assistance ug dili na e-engage ilang mga anak sa dili angay nga pagpanarbaho,” expressed by Julie Enano, HR Officer of Polaris Construction Inc.

Aside from gifts, DOLE SDNFO Head May C. Velonta also gave a cash price of Php 1,000.00 in an impromptu dance challenge of the children during the program.

In her short message, Chief Velonta emphasized the risk of engaging children in child labor and the efforts of the government to eliminate it. She also highlighted the role of the parents in preventing child labor, and the services of DOLE that parents can avail to help augment their family’s income and send their children to school.

Part of the celebration was also the continuation of the #RaiseYourHandsForKids challenge in support of the “No to Child Labor” theme of WDACL. At the end of the program, all participants raised their hands with a “smiley” face drawn on their palms as an expression to let all children enjoy their childhood and stop child labor.

Moreover, a series of orientation was conducted under the Child Labor Program to the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Claver, General Luna, Socorro, and Tubod since May 2022. These LGUs also participated in the #RaiseYourHandsForKids challenge and the hanging of a “No to Child Labor” tarpaulin.

DOLE SDNFO, together with partner agencies and stakeholders, continue to implement the CLPEP with the hope that child labor will soon be fully eradicated in the province.