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“Maging Batang Malaya, Maging Batang Malaya” students chanted during the celebration of World Day Against Child Labor 2015 sa Pilipinas last August 28, 2015 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City.

Around five hundred (500) students from various private and public secondary schools in the National Capital Region and Region 4-A joined the celebration.

“Ang Child Labor ay kung ang bata ay hindi pinag-aaral ng kanilang mga magulang at sapilitang pinagtatrabaho”, said Angelo O. Lupac, grade 10 students from Jose P. Laurel High School in Tondo, Manila.

DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III, DepEd representative Rosa Ligaya C. Domingo and ILO-Manila representative Cesar Giovanni Soledad served as panelist in a “Kapihan” type forum on Batang Malaya. Kapihan involves discussion on the policies related to education and employment of children in the Philippines particularly those who are involved in child labor.

The Kapihan underscored the significance of quality education as a key step in addressing child labor in the country.
“The government should invest more on the quality education of Filipino children”, DOLE Undersecretary Lagunzad urged.

“Bilang kabataan tumulong tayo na mabawasan ang child labor sa pamamagitan ng pagpapaunlad ng ating mga sarili” a reaction from Ms. Ma. Katrina Lyne Roxas a student representative from Sauyo High School in Novaliches, Quezon City. She encouraged her colleagues to join the fight against child labor by doing well in school.

This year, the National Child Labor Committee chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment, facilitated the whole day celebration with activities intended to promote
quality education and to spread awareness on the initiatives being undertaken to address child labor through friendly inter-school competitions.

More than 40 teams participated in Batang Malaya Quiz Bee and 10 teams competed in “Sabayang Pagbigkas” para sa Batang Malaya.

“I’m sure we can partner with all of these students, their coaches, their teachers and their schools in creating greater awareness on child labor and in helping get more working children out of child labor”, said Julius H. Cainglet, Federation of Free Workers Assistant Vice President.

Further, Mr. David Atkinson from the United States (US) Embassy announced the $850,000 grant that will be provided by the US Department of Labor (DOL) for an impact evaluation on livelihood assistance for parents of child laborers.

The US DOL recognized the efforts and improvements of the Philippines in eliminating child labor.

BWSC Director Ahmma Charisma acknowledged the valuable participation of schools, teachers, students and partner agencies in making this year’s celebration of WDACL sa Pilipinas possible.

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