DOLE to launch “H.E.L.P.M.E.” program to fight child labor in the country

QUEZON CITY, Jan 7 –The Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) is set to roll out its convergence program using a synchronized strategies to effectively address the problem of child labor in the country.

The program called “H.E.L.P.M.E.”, is community-based approach against child labor and has a proposed budget of P9 billion to be implemented in four years, or from 2013 to 2016.

H.E.L.P. stands for health, education, livelihood, and prevention, protection, and prosecution, while M.E. stands for monitoring and evaluation.

Labor & Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, in a statement said the program will contribute to the realization of the country’s ultimate Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty through decent work.

“By 2016 we aim to have freed at least 75 percent of the 2.9 million child laborers in the country. We intend to vigorously implement H.E.L.P. M.E. through stronger cooperation among partners to ensure that this target is achieved,” added Baldoz.

For the project implementation the DOLE is working with partners, such as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Health, Interior and Local Government and its local government units, Trade nd Industry, Education, Justice, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, National Economic Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, labor unions and workers’ organizations, employers’ groups, ILO and other international organizations, non-government organizations, professional medical and dental associations, faith-based organizations, and other partners.

Baldoz also said that the convergence program calls for the DSWD to include in the requirements for beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer, or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, not to compel their children to engage in child labor.

“As a a key ally of the DOLE, the DSWD is finalizing its modified CCT program and will prioritize for enrolment families with child laborers or families with children at-risk of becoming child laborers. This means many Filipino families will have the chance to be part of the CCT program in the future,” Baldoz said.

H.E.L.P. M.E was conceived by the Cabinet’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC), with the DOLE and the Department of Social Welfare and Development as lead agencies, upon the instruction of President Benigno S. Aquino III for a deliberate, harmonized, and convergent approach in addressing the problem of child labor in the country. (DOLE/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)