In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic where face-to-face communication and physical interactions are constrained, one of the best ways to connect with other people is through online and virtual platforms. With the rise of technology, social media platforms proved to be efficient in reaching target audiences and in propagating advocacies.
The National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL), through the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) Organizing Committee, utilized these platforms to engage not just the children, but also the youth and the general public in the fight against child labor in celebrating WDACL 2020. With the theme “COVID-19 Sugpuin, Batang Manggagawa Sagipin”, the Batang Malaya Multimedia Arts Contests were launched on 12 June 2020 to enjoin children and the youth to express their ideas, thoughts, and views on child labor and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child labor.
Each of the Multimedia Arts Contests (Slogan Making, Greeting Card Making, Poster Making, Essay Writing, and Jingle Making) were open to specific age ranges and catered to children and the youth alike up to 30 years of age. A total of 644 entries were received for all the contests from the participants nationwide.
As a culminating activity to a successful conduct of Batang Malaya Multimedia Arts Contests, the WDACL Organizing Committee live streamed an episode of Talakayang Pambata, hosted by Mr. Julius Cainglet of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), to announce and feature the winners of the contests on 20 August 2020.
Ashley Xyrile Caballero, an 11 year-old from Bulacan seemed to have really understood the meaning of the theme as she submitted her winning slogan entry that reads, “Batang manggagawa’y salbahin, karaptan nila’y ibigay natin. Kalusugan nila’y bigyang pansin, upang sila’y hindi magkaroon ng COVID-19”.
With her outstanding artwork and heartfelt message addressed to government officials, Ezeil Jane De Guzman, a 13 year-old from Caloocan, has captivated the hearts of the judges and won the Greeting Card Making Contest. Her entry reads, “Dear government officials, not only the lives of innocent people are being claimed and killed by this pandemic, but also the rights of unprivileged children who are supposed to be the one being protected instead of forcing them to work in order to sustain their needs. We need all of you, an epitome of a great leader that will strengthen the protection and support for the unfortunate children in having a normal life and in enjoying the education they deserve. I’ll always pray for you all!”.
Kyle Brondial Espinosa, a 12 year-old from Bataan, created a fascinating work of art entitled “Kamay ng pagkalinga, para sa mga batang malaya” that truly illustrated the theme and won the Poster Making Contest.
Pera Piraso Paraiso, a written piece by John Jerald Cuchapin, a 17 year-old from Tarlac, won the Filipino category for the Essay Writing Contest while “Juan Million: A cry against child labor” by Florence Anne Ramos, a 15 year-old from Davao del Norte, won the English category.
With an impressive musical arrangement, catchy tune, relevant lyrics, and great vocals, Hoy Bata by Charlon Miguel Sacdalan Landingin, a 24 year-old from Bulacan, won the Jingle Making Contest.
The WDACL Organizing Committee has also grabbed the opportunity to air messages on WDACL 2020 from the tripartite heads of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Employers Confederation of the Philippines - Mr. Roland Moya, FFW - Atty. Jose Sonny Matula, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines - Representative Raymond Mendoza, and International Labour Organization - Mr. Khalid Hassan.
In his message, Secretary Bello highlighted the continuous effort of the Department to identify, profile, and give assistance and services to child laborers and their families through the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program. He also shared that a recent milestone in the global campaign against child labor has been achieved through the universal ratification of ILO Convention No. 182 or the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention of all the 187 member-states of the ILO. Secretary Bello also expressed his joy about the participation of many children and the youth in the contests, “Nakatutuwa na maraming kabataan ang sumali sa ating Batang Malaya Multimedia Arts Contests. Nakamamangha ang inyong creativity, galing sa pagsulat at paglikha ng tugtugin. Lahat ng ito ay nagawa ninyo habang kayo ay nasa loob ng inyong bahay dahil sa community quarantine. Dahil diyan, maituturing na kayong lahat ay pawang nagwagi.”