Two million worth of livelihood assistance under the Kabuhayan para sa mga Magulang ng Batang Manggagawa or KASAMA Project was released on September 10, 2015 to 200 parents of child laborers in Barangay Mostro, Municipality of Anilao, Iloilo.
This livelihood assistance is intended to provide income to or augment the earnings of the families of child laborers through the backyard animal-raising project to eradicate child labor in this barangay.
Two hundred heads of piglets, including 600 bags of starter, grower and finisher feeds with free vaccination and immunization were released during the activity.
“One of my dreams for all the children in Brgy. Mostro is for them to continue and finish their studies,” said Brgy. Mostro Chairman Juvy Aculla.
“This livelihood assistance will be of great help to my constituents for this can be another source of income aside from farming. This will also help us eliminate child labor in our barangay since parents will now have enough sources of income,” Aculla added.
Mostro is one of the three barangays in Anilao, Iloilo with high incidence of child labor along with Palaypay, and Poblacion as identified by the Educational Research Development Assistance or ERDA and was declared as economically poor with farming as the main source of livelihood of people living in the area.
Jomalyn F. Sarda of ERDA said that the organization has been extending assistance to the children in this barangay to prevent them from working at an early age.
“We have been distributing school uniforms and supplies to identified child laborers enrolled in Mostro Elementary and High Schools every opening of the school year so that they will no longer have reason to work in order to buy these items. We also pay their school miscellaneous fees,” Sarda said.
“With the additional assistance from DOLE to the parents of child laborers we are very positive that there will be no more record of child labor cases in Anilao, Iloilo,” she enthused.
A group of child laborers and their parents were elated with the assistance.
One of them was 16 years old Jezmel Divino who is looking forward to finish his studies in high school and enroll in college with the degree of Bachelor in Secondary Education without working any longer in sugar cane plantation.
“I started working in sugar cane plantation when I was 10 and I only stopped doing so just a year ago. I hope I will not work again there since my parents have already received livelihood assistance from the DOLE,” Jezmel shared.
Fifteen year-old Chris Lou Geolagio, another child laborer from Brgy. Mostro said that when he was 13 years old he earned P130.00 per day from working in the sugar cane plantation during summer period.
Geolagio said that he saved his earnings for the succeeding school year so that his parents can only concentrate on their daily subsistence. He was delighted with DOLE’s assistance as it would mean extra income for his family.
On the other hand, Mrs. Rita Geolagio, 48, mother of Chris Lou said, “We have no choice then but to let our children work in the plantation since our income from selling vegetables is only enough to buy food and other needs of our family.”
“But now, through the assistance given by the ERDA and DOLE, we no longer send our children to work in sugarcane plantation; we hope we could let them finish their education until they earn a degree,” said Geolagio.
The officials of Barangay Mostro Elementary and High Schools have also been supportive of the Department’s initiative to eliminate child labor in the area.
The principal of Mostro Elementary School, Mrs. Regina Glimero, helped in the crafting of the backyard animal-raising project for parents of child laborers. When she learned that the barangay officials wanted to propose a livelihood project for them she did not hesitate to volunteer.
This livelihood assistance will have its second phase next month as the DOLE Iloilo Field Office will release to the beneficiaries 200 heads of goat and 400 heads of native chicken including all biologics.
Last May 23 and as part of the 2015 Labor Month celebration, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and partners distributed school kits to around 235 child laborers from nine identified barangays in the Municipalities of Anilao, Banate, Barotac Viejo and Bingawan.
Bgy. Mostro was among the identified barangays in the municipality of Anilao.