“Children are Meant to LEARN, Not to EARN:” DOLE – Apayao Field Office 

“Bert” (not his real name), of Brgy. Malibang, Pudtol, Apayao, was only eight (8) years old when he first started planting, harvesting, and drying corn and rice products as a farmhand for various employers. His father is also a farmer, but Bert who is only a child received minimal payment which was sometimes in kind.

With the intervention from the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP), Bert’s family secured a source of income, which allowed Bert to stop working on farmlands and continue his studies.

Sometime in October 2019, the CLPEP staff of the Apayao Field Office (DOLE-AFO) interviewed Bert and found out that he was working to support their family’s basic needs. He was referred to the DOLE and the Social Welfare and Development Office of Apayao for appropriate assistance.

Subsequently, Bert’s mother was provided with a sari-sari/micro retail store as livelihood assistance through the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Pudtol, Apayao.

The livelihood assistance came in the form of initial merchandise such as canned goods, cooking ingredients, snacks, and other food items for them to sell in their area.

During a livelihood monitoring done in January 2023, it was found that Bert’s family has expanded their livelihood project by introducing fruits, vegetables, dry goods (including clothes), and household tools and utensils.

 Bert’s mother claimed that since their family started their humble livelihood, they attained regular income which helped them with their daily needs. The additional income helped in Bert’s subsequent return to school.

At present, Bert has stopped working on any farm and has since focused on his studies as a Grade 5 student.

He helps in the management of their small store only on weekends or long vacations.

With interventions such as the CLPEP, children like Bert will never have to toil in the field again, but spend their time growing and learning – as they normally should.


end//Daryll B. Ponard with initial report from DOLE-Apayao Field Office