Children are the living messages we send to a time we may not see

Interventions under the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) include livelihood grant through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP).

Among the beneficiaries of the DILEEP is Ms. Melchora, a parent of a profiled child laborer (PCL). She managed to lift her family from sinking into debt through a hog-raising livelihood project which was awarded to her by DOLE-CAR through the Apayao Field Office last 2019.

“Romy” (not real name), one of Melchora’s children – and profiled child laborer by the DOLE-Apayao Field Office CLPEP team, used to be a child laborer.

Mel alternatively worked in a farm and in construction projects at Pudtol, Apayao. He did not finish his elementary school, as he spent his days as a full-time worker.

Through the DOLE’s livelihood intervention, Ms. Melchora was able to improve their economic well-being. Romy was subsequently referred to the Department of Education to possibly avail of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program.

To date, Romy has already stopped working on the farm and construction sites.

Despite the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) and hog-poisoning in their area, Romy’s family thrived in managing their livelihood. From the initial two piglets and feeds amounting to P19,357.00, they have since increased to three more pregnant sows and a boar.

They have also constructed a fence for their hog farm to contain their animal-raising livelihood. More recently, they added a water system – fish pond containing 500 tilapia fingerlings, as an additional business venture and for their personal consumption. They also started a feeds-retail store which catered to their barangay and adjoining barangays’ need.

During a follow-up visit, Ms. Melchora expressed her sincerest gratitude for the project that was provided to her family. “Ako ay taos pusong nagpapasalamat sa tulong ng DOLE sa aming pamilya. Kung wala itong serbisyo na binigay ng gobyerno, ay tiyak na walang anumang pagbabago sa sitwasyon ng aming buhay (I am wholeheartedly grateful for the DOLE assistance to my family. Without these government services, surely, the situation of our lives would not have changed).

And as the saying goes, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we may not see”, so will Romy’s story be. A story of life forever changed, because we gave this child’s future a chance.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we may not see, and so will Romy’s story be. A story of life forever changed, because we gave this child’s future a chance.”

end//Daryll B. Ponard with initial report from DOLE-Apayao Field Office
LEO III-FNLI/LIO