A memorandum of agreement was signed yesterday between the Department of Labor Region 6 and the transport giant Vallacar Transit, Inc, for the institutionalization of the “Bring Home a Child” (BHC) program.
Regional director Johnson Cañete said BHC is a program under the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program of the DOLE and its component Sagip Batang Manggagawa the primary objective of which is to facilitate the safe return of the children to their families.
Transporting a child after the rescue often poses a problem among the authorities as it costs them a lot, most especially when a child has to be escorted so they will be home, and not go anywhere again, he said.
In the MOA, he said, the VTI will provide for the transportation of the rescued child laborers for free from and to any point of the region. A focal person, or coordinator, is designated by the VTI to work closely with the DOLE in ensuring the effective implementation of the program.
Under the program scheme, reports of child labor will be screened and validated for surveillance. If proven true, the DOLE will exercise its visitorial power to the area to rescue the children. Charges will then be filed and fines collected from the employer before transporting a victim to his family.
The DOLE will provide assistance, such as free course training in any of the technical and vocational courses of the TESDA. The DSWD will provide seminars on good parenting for the education of the parents.
“We are in a sugarcane country and, surely, there are a lot of children out there working in the fields” he said adding that the province had been known back in the ‘80s for its hungry children.
Cañete noted that poverty is still prevalent and growth is not inclusive not even reaching the far-flung areas, thus the rise in the number of child laborers. IThe DOLE survey report of 2011 showed more than 140,000 child laborers in the region.
The partnership is the first for the DOLE and the transport company and he has high hopes that, in the future, other regions will follow suit when this is proven effective in the elimination of the child labor, Cañete added.*
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