Groceries, shoes, school supplies and other wishes of the 50 working children in the Municipality of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur were granted through Project Angel Tree rolled out by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Surigao del Sur Field Office in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Hinatuan at the Municipal Gym on October 7, 2021. The project was dubbed as “Adopt a Batang Malaya Star, a Gift-Giving Activity and Granting of Batang Malaya’s simple wishes.’’

The child laborers were identified through the profiling of vulnerable workers activity conducted by DOLE in different municipalities of Surigao del Sur. During the activity, the children received their simple wishes provided by various establishments operating in and out in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.  The Local Government Unit of Hinatuan donated Php 50,000 worth of groceries, shoes and school supplies. Moreover, some of the Municipal Council members also took part of their personal funds in granting the wishes of the children.

The Project Angel Tree is a DOLE initiative under its Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program that gathers and grants wishes of profiled child laborers by seeking social support services from a network of benefactors  called “Angels”.

Aside from Project Angel Tree Activity, the Department of Labor and Employment turned-over to LGU – Hinatuan the amount of Php 953,758.50 for the various livelihood projects of 32 parents of the child laborers who were profiled in 2019. The livelihood projects include Fishing gears, Sari-sari Store, Mini-BBQ Store and Street Food business. These livelihood projects aim to augment the income of the family.

In his message, DOLE Caraga Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao emphasized the responsibilities of parents to raise their children in an environment that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling. He also acknowledged the generosity of the benefactors from the LGU OF Hinatuan, Municipal Council members and the various business establishments.

The activity was also graced by Hinatuan Mayor Shem G. Garay. He recognized the difficulties faced by the parents of the working children but urged them to work hard and provide for the basic needs of their children. ‘’Dili responsibilidad sa mga bata an magtrabaho aron maka income para sa pamilya,’’ Garay said.

One of the parents expressed gratitude to the department, benefactors/angels and to LGU of Hinatuan for giving them the opportunity to be part of the memorable activity. Carlo Ilyanna, one of the Batang Malaya beneficiaries wrote a message, quoted ‘’Salamat DOLE ug sa programang Project Angel Tree. Akong paningkamutan na makahuman ko sa pag eskwela. Thank you po sa Rubber shoes na inyong gihatag.’’

In his closing message, Public Employment Service Office manager James S. Soria recognized the benefactors/angels of the Project Angel Tree activity who played a big part in granting of the wishes of the children.