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  • Pauline Giselle D. Navarro

World Vision launches Zero Child Labor Campaign, capacitates hotline heroes together with QC LGU

World Vision Development Foundation celebrates National Children’s Month by launching the “Zero Child Labor” campaign, through its Project Against Child Exploitation (ACE), which was supported by the Quezon City (QC) government last November 15-16, 2023, held at Harolds Hotel in Quezon City.

To firm up their commitments towards a child-labor-free City, the stakeholders launched the “Zero Child Labor” campaign and a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Quezon City government and the Council for the Welfare of Children.

The “Zero Child Labor” campaign aims to initiate a local movement among various local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines towards the elimination of child labor, by bringing together government officials, child rights advocates, and community members, to affirm their commitment to ending WFCL including OSAEC.

National Director Rommel V. Fuerte asked Mayor Joy Belmonte to lead the “Zero Child Labor” campaign as one of the chief executives in the country advocating to end WFCL. He mentioned that “child labor is an issue that transcends mere statistics; it affects the very heart and soul of our community. Every child engaged in labor is a dream deferred, a potential unrealized, and a future unfulfilled. We believe, as you do, that our children deserve better. As we launch the “Zero Child Labor” campaign, we implore you to take a leading role in championing this cause. Your guidance, support and advocacy are paramount to our success.”

In response, Mayor Joy declared the city’s commitment to taking action to protect children against exploitation. The city mayor highlighted the strong partnership with World Vision in addressing the worst forms of child labor and the City’s policies, programs, and activities hoping that other cities will follow suit. “To our friends in World Vision, I can still vividly remember that in the midst of the global pandemic, in 2021, we forged a partnership that holds the promise of transforming lives and shaping a future untarnished by the shadows of child exploitation. In World Vision, we found a reliable partner whose values mirror our own. Project ACE aligns seamlessly with our vision for a Child Labor Free Quezon City, where every child is free to explore, learn, and dream without fear of exploitation,” she added.

Meanwhile, right after the launch, the ceremonial signing of the Makabata Helpline 1383 between the CWC and the QC government took place in the same event. CWC Executive Director Angelo Tapales was present to sign on behalf of the agency.

The afternoon session focused on the capacity building of hotline operators that aims to enhance the knowledge of QC Hotline 122 Operators on child rights and child labor and familiarizes operators with OSAEC, enabling them to recognize warning signs and utilize the referral system effectively.

QC Hotline 122 was established under the Radio Communications Service, which aims to be the main communication service that can be accessed by the local government’s constituents who are in need of immediate assistance or attention.

In her speech, Project ACE Manager Anita T. Garcia highlighted that “consider that every time we interact with children, we have the opportunity to be a part of their significant lives! The greatest gift we can give will be that we will provide a smile, hope, and inspiration to every child we meet. Together, let us stand and be against child exploitation.”

Child Rights and Child Labor 101 was discussed by Project Director Daphne Culanag, highlighting the importance of ending child labor, including OSAEC, to protect children from child exploitation. It was followed with the Definition, Identification, and Reporting of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) presented by Rhea Ponce de Leon, Field Coordinator in Quezon City.

Quezon City is one of the key areas of Project Against Child Exploitation, which aims to work with the government in addressing WFCL, including OSAEC and violations of ACW. Since the implementation of the project in 2020, the local government has implemented various programs and activities that aim to reduce the cases of child labor in its communities.

The local government of Quezon City and Project ACE collaborated for the two-day event, to further strengthen the partnership in addressing the WFCL, including OSAEC and violations of ACW.

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL 34007-19-75-K. 100 percent of the total costs of the project in the Philippines are financed with United States Department of Labor funds.

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