The local government of Quezon City and World Vision’s Project Against Child Exploitation (ACE) celebrated World Day Against Child Labor through a culminating activity on June 26, 2023 in Risen Garden, City Hall Complex, Quezon City.
The momentous occasion highlighted the strong partnership between the two stakeholders as they gathered together for the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) for the Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and Other Developmental Services (SHIELD) against Child Labor and extension of World Vision Project ACE MOA with the local government.
Quezon City has been an active partner in eliminating the the Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL), including Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC), and Violations of Acceptable Conditions of Work (ACW) since the project’s implementation.
World Vision Philippines’ National Director Rommel V. Fuerte highlighted the important role of the local government in eliminating child labor. He mentioned how Project ACE has been active in its advocacy in the city that led to many successes in the past years. “We are continuing our partnership to end the worst forms of child labor including online sexual exploitation of children, and violation of acceptable conditions of work through Project Against Child Exploitation (Project ACE)”
With Mayor Joy Belmonte’s leadership, the local 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. Last January, the Quezon City Special Review Committee has approved the passage of Ordinance No. 005, S-2022, 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 of Quezon City – one of the three pilot barangays of the project in Quezon City. These, among many others, were achieved with the support and facilitation of Project ACE.
In addition, the Quezon City government has agreed to replicate the SHIELD project to respond to the needs of the child laborers and their families symbolizing its commitment to combat child labor as part of the WDACL celebration. Present in the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement were Local Chief Executive herself, Mayor Joy Belmonte, and the Acting Regional Director of the DSWD Field Office in NCR, Atty. Michael Joseph J. Lorico as signatories.
Mayor Belmonte mentioned the city’s interventions in addressing child labor such as livelihood programs for the families and educational assistance for the child laborers. “We are continuously strengthening our efforts against child exploitation. We are the first local government in Metro Manila that will implement the SHIELD project in our city because we want to ensure that children will not be engaged in child labor anymore,” she added.
This initiative took place several months after Project ACE donated equipment to its key areas during the 2nd National Summit held last September 2022 to support the SHIELD implementation. This included computers, a smart TV, printers, external storage, cellphones, a steel cabinet and office supplies.
Aside from the ceremonial signings, a special performance from Christian Bautista, World Vision celebrity ambassador, was featured, and educational activities and service caravans were held. Prior to the culminating activity, the three pilot barangays of Project ACE conducted its own WDACL-related activities that aim to raise awareness among its respective community members. In Barangay Sauyo, an orientation of Republic Act 9231 was conducted on June 22 alongside signature campaigns and profiling of child laborers towards eradication of the WFCL in their community. On the other hand, Barangay Silangan and Barangay Matandang Balara both held orientations on child labor including OSAEC as well as profiling of child laborers on June 17 and June 24 respectively.
With the ongoing threat of child labor and online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, the local government of Quezon City, with the support of World Vision’s Project ACE, will remain committed to addressing these child protection issues.
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 United States Department of Labor funds.