One year after their joint statement and inked commitment to address the Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL), including Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC), and Violations of Acceptable Conditions of Work (ACW), active Project ACE stakeholders and partners from the Quezon City (QC) and Cagayan De Oro City (CDO) reconvened in Mindanao, to share milestones and learnings from their respective localities, as a way forward to promote and amplify sustainability mechanisms in addressing WFCL, OSAEC and ACW.
Held last March 29 – 31, 2023, over 80 participants from various offices in QC and CDO government documented and consolidated the accomplishments of the city stakeholders to learn from the challenges and emerging innovations applied in the two active cities.
On the first day of the conference, Quezon City partners visited Oro Care Village in CDO to learn about the local government’s programs responding to child protection. The “all-in-one village” is a five-hectare land built to be a safe place for rescued children, abused women, and elderly people in need of special care. It offers educational services, livelihood productivity, health services, and socio-cultural activities, among many others.
Project ACE Director Daphne Culanag, expressed her deepest gratitude to the partners, highlighting that the strong partnership within the city levels has resulted in significant outcomes in recent years. “The good practices of Quezon City and Cagayan De Oro City can be replicated in other provinces and I can only imagine what a beautiful Philippines it will be for the children then,” she added.
The issue of child labor continues to be a pressing concern for both areas in recent years. Children, instead of going to school, would opt to help their families by engaging in hazardous work, due to poverty. Project ACE aims to address this issue by strengthening the capacity of the Philippine government in eliminating WFLC, including OSAEC and ACW. It targets child labor programs spread over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, with particular emphasis in two key areas - Quezon City and Cagayan De Oro City.
In CDO, strengthened collaborative efforts and availability of services, including facilities, were some of the good practices that the local government has been proactively working on to address WFCL.
During his presentation, Lord Saver Centina, Officer-in-charge of the Oro Youth Development Office (OYDO) mentioned that “our city has received the Presidential award for the 2019 Most Child Friendly City in the Philippines because of our initiative to recognize child-friendly police stations in CDO”
Being one of the hotspots of OSAEC in the country, the first class, highly urbanized city in Mindanao has been capacitating its service providers to strengthen its child protection programs, with the support of Project ACE. In fact, all 80 barangay leaders attended a child labor forum February 24, 2023 as a result of strong partnerships between Project ACE and CDO.
In Quezon City, extensive profiling showed that there were about 5,229 boys and 4,773 girls who were involved in child labor. In response, the local government continues to intensify its approaches to address the issue. In 2022, through Mayor Joy Belmonte’s leadership, the Quezon City government has established the Inter-Agency Task Force, Sampaguita, as a measure to rescue child laborers selling sampaguita around the city, including their family members. This was achieved with the support and facilitation of Project ACE.
Barangay Councilor Karina Joyce Quilo-Diaz from Barangay Sauyo highlighted the passage of the Ordinance No. 005, S-2022, entitled “An Ordinance Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination in the Entire Barangay of Sauyo, District 6, Quezon City”, which was approved with the support of Project ACE.
Since the project started in 2019, service providers in both project areas were able to improve their respective mechanisms towards stronger protection of children.
After presenting their respective initiatives and activities, Project ACE Manager, Antonia Salamat, led the synthesis of the good practices, innovations and lessons learned in addressing WFCL, including OSAEC in QC and CDO, to inform the sustainability roadmap as a way forward. “QC and CDO, you have already started your footsteps ahead of other cities. You are leading in the country in terms of how you already have good practices that can be replicated in other areas of the Philippines,” Salamat mentioned.
As part of her reflection, Sanggunian Kabataan Kagawad Rosal Agustin added that “let’s use these opportunities to further advocate and promote the rights of the children towards a better and safer future for them,”
The conference ended with the signing of the Project Partners’ Statement on addressing Child Labor and achievements. The statement highlighted the commitment of the partners to continuously work to eliminate WFCL including OSAEC and violations of ACW.
With the support of United States Department of Labor, World Vision’s Project ACE was launched to strengthen the capacity of the Philippine government to address Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL) including Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC), and Violations of Acceptable Conditions of Work (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 is financed with federal funds.
For inquiries, contact Pauline Giselle D. Navarro at 0906 455 72 65