NO TO CHILD LABOR. Leilanie Reynoso, chief of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bataan Provincial Office, delivers her message during the celebration of World Day Against Child Labor at the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) on Wednesday (June 22, 2022). Reynoso said DOLE has found no factories that are employing minors in FAB. (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

MARIVELES, Bataan – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said no factories at the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) are employing minors.

This was disclosed as the DOLE conducted on Wednesday its celebration of the “World Day Against Child Labor” at the FAB here.

DOLE provincial chief Leilanie Reynoso said she was happy that no minors were found among the labor force of the various enterprises of FAB, which is operated by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB).

FAB is formerly the Bataan Export Processing Zone-turned Bataan Economic Zone. It has more than 90 multinational firms with about 40,000 workers.

Attending the program were heads of human resources offices of the FAB companies and AFAB chair Emmanuel Pineda.

“We told chair Pineda that because the Bataan freeport has no case of child labor, are they going to wait that it will have one before acting? Mas mainam na proactive at magkaroon na ng awareness bago mahuli ang lahat (It is better to be proactive and to have an awareness before its too late),” Reynoso said during the event.

She said the Philippines and other countries have celebrated World Day against Child Labor June 12th of each year starting 2002 but because it coincided with the country’s Independence Day, it was moved to any time within June.

“We must have a universal social protection to end child labor which aims to provide strong protection systems such as prioritizing education and child benefits necessary for the reduction and providing a world-free child labor,” Reynoso said.

She emphasized that aside from DOLE and FAB, all must be involved and committed to eliminating and putting a stop to child labor, especially its worst forms.

“It must be everyone’s advocacy,” she said.

“Walang usapin na may batang mangagagwa sa mga establishimento, wala kaming natatangap na complaint. Ang na-identify at napo-profile lang ay sa mga certain selected barangays at ang tinutugunan doon kapag may na-identify ay ang DOLE ang nagpo-provide ng assistance kung ano ang pangangailangan ng pamilya like kung kailangan ng livelihood ay binibigyan nila (There is no issue that there is child labor in the establishments. We don’t receive any complaints. What was identified and profiled is on certain selected villages and the DOLE provides assistance to the needs of the families like livelihood),” Reynoso said.

She said DOLE has partner agencies in its fight against child labor such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the local government units and non-governmental organizations.

Pineda, for his part, asked for support for their advocacy to end any kind of child labor in the communities and the nation.

“As responsible citizens, we must not remain indifferent or turn a blind eye to children who are victims of such abuse. We cannot allow ourselves by remaining silent to become a part of this inhumane cycle of exploitation,” he said. (PNA)