DAVAO CITY – Parents of child laborers thanked the government Monday for providing them livelihood assistance as they vowed to also provide better life for their children who engaged in hard work at a very young age.

In a statement, Maylen But and Jestonie Andamon, two of the nine parents of child laborers who received PHP20,00 each under the Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) or Kabuhayan Program, said they will use the grant as start-up capital for small businesses.

The Davao del Norte Field Office of the Department of Labor and Employment-Davao Region (DOLE-11) handed over the grant to the beneficiaries, which included grocery stores, hog raising, and eatery businesses.

Both parents admitted that financial constraints, especially during the pandemic, were the reason their children engaged in seasonal farm work.

“We understand that children should be studying and playing outside instead of helping us earn additional money. That’s why we are grateful for this opportunity given to us by DOLE,” Andamon said, whose child used to work on a banana plantation in Sto. Tomas town.

He also vowed to do the best they can to make the livelihood aid thrive for their children’s future.

On the other hand, But thanked DOLE-11 for the assistance and hopes that it would be their child’s ticket out of poverty.

“We will seize this opportunity to provide a better life for our only child and strive to give him an education that he truly deserves. As parents, it would be the best legacy we could give to him,” she said.

DOLE-11 Director Randolf Pensoy said aside from the cash assistance, the parents of child laborers who are beneficiaries of DILP will be provided with training on basic entrepreneurship and continuing technical advisory services.

“These activities will be a collaborative effort among DOLE-11 and our partners from both private and government offices,” he said.

Pensoy said their office shall also be evaluating and monitoring the beneficiaries throughout the year to ensure proper implementation of the program.

“All these undertakings are for the common objective to prevent and progressively eliminate child labor and address the poverty cycle in Davao Region,” he said.

Last year alone, he said a total of 543 parents/guardians of profiled child laborers in the region were assisted under the program. (PNA)