Baguio City – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE – BBFO) Baguio Benguet Field Office gathered around 100 muslim children at the Mahad Luzon Al-Islam Center, Inc.  for a community-based intervention program “Share a Gift of Hope” activity that aims to prevent them from becoming child laborers.

DOLE – BBFO Chief Emerito A. Narag said the “Share a Gift of Hope “activity is part of Project Angel Tree where DOLE and its partner government agencies and the private sector provides an array of social services that range from food, clothing, educational assistance or school supplies, and even work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors called “angels” to child laborers and their families.

The program, he said, aims to improve the economic and social conditions of children and their families and increase the number of allies and advocates of child labor prevention and elimination through empowerment and reintegration of child workers into a caring society.

“We would like to emphasize that the 100 muslim children we are catering now are those at risk (of being indulged into child labor). This is part of the prevention. We give food, educational supplies, bags, clothes, some toys, among others for them to continue their studies and graduate for as brighter future. The educational supplies, bags and clothes were donated by SITEL Baguio ” Narag said.

Mr. Saifoden Elias, the faculty and pupils of the Mahad Luzon Al-Islam Center, Inc. expressed their gratitude of SITEL Baguio for their donations as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the cause of education and growth of children. SITEL Baguio’s generosity and support to the elimination and prevention of child labor is motivation to help the  Labor Department’s realization towards the vision of “ A child labor-Free Philippines”.

In a related development, DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman called on employers and workers groups and other well-meaning organizations and individuals in communities where child labor is prevalent to support the project and grant the wishes of the child workers and those children at risk to child labor.

“Project Angel Tree is an opportunity for us to share and give happiness to another disadvantaged sector of our society – the children who are forced by circumstances to work and earn a living to support themselves and their families”. Guzman added.

He explained that the project is an attempt to improve the economic and social conditions of child laborers and their families and increase allies and advocates of child labor elimination. Patrons and supporters of the project are symbolically represented by an angel tree bearing a broad array of services that shall be made available to child laborers and their families. Interested groups and individuals wanting to know and grant the wishes of the child laborers and children at risk to child labor may visit DOLE-CAR Regional Office located at the DOLE Building, Cabinet Hill, Baguio City./

END/Patrick Rillorta with reports from Shyra Mae Acosta, BBFO