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Tue, Jan 17, 2017 (Source: ZSFO)
Batu, Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay -The Project Angel Tree Team has once again spread its wings to child laborers as they distributed school bags, school supplies and jackets in Batu, Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay. A total of 75 child workers benefited from the Christmas gift-giving event which was a collaboration of the DOLE, LGU-Siay, Alano & Sons Credit Corporation, Rotary Club-Ipil Chapter, Barangay BatuLGU and other stakeholders.

The event was conducted to inspire child workers to stay in-school while at the same time advocate to parents and the community to eliminate Child Labor in Batu, Siay. Each child workers received a colorful backpack full of school supplies and jackets sponsored by Alano & Sons Credit Corporation and Rotary Club-Ipil Chapter. The children were very ecstatic as they received their gifts from the team headed by Mayor Jarvis M. Acosta of LGU-Siay and Asst. Regional Director Yahya A. Centi of DOLE RO9. The children proudly put on their new jackets and backpacks during the pictorial.

In his message during the program, Mayor Jarvis M. Acosta of LGU-Siay, challenged the parents of the child workers to prioritize education of their children and not to allow them to engage in lemon picking that could hamper their health and studies. He encouraged everyone to take the responsibility to sustain Batu as a child labor-free barangay. He also advised the parents to take advantage of the government’s support to education through 4Ps and other programs. Prior to the gift-giving activity, a conferment ceremony was held at the Siay Municipal Plaza wherein Barangay Batu was declared and certified by the DOLE as a Child Labor-Free Barangay. The DOLE RO9 Asst. Regional Director Yahyah A. Centi headed the awarding of plaque and certificate to Barangay Batu represented by Barangay Chairman Jimmy S. Cañete and members of the barangay council. The ceremony was also witnessed by Chief LEO Imelda F. Gatinao of Zamboanga Sibugay Field Office.

During the gift-giving program ARD Yahya Centi of DOLE-RO9 encouraged the parents and the community to unite in supporting the dreams of the children to finish their education as they are the future of Barangay Batu. In his message he quoted the song of George Benson, “the children are our future, we need to teach them well and give them a sense of pride”. He added that the DOLE will always be at forefront to promote a decent and competitive Filipino workforce and to discourage if not to eliminate the existence of child labor. He also thanked the sponsors and stakeholders of the event who were very generous to share their resources by answering the call of social responsibility to eliminate child labor.

The upbringing of a child is a communal effort. The existence of child labor reflects the state of the community where the child lives in. Poverty is one of the major factors why the problem exist, but it is only through a communal effort that this problem can be eliminated.

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