MORE than P5 million in livelihood grants were distributed to the families of former child laborers in Barangay Sawang Calero, Cebu City in line with the celebration of World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) that also coincided with the Philippine Independence Day on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

Marites Mercado, DOLE Tri-city field office chief, told SunStar Cebu that the activity is celebrated annually by the agency.

However, the Department of Labor and Employment postponed its celebration of WDACL for two years due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The event was held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Nicolas Gym in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City.

It was participated in by around 181 former child laborers from Sawang Calero and their families.

The program was filled with activities that the participants enjoyed, such as storytelling for children, raffles and games, and a feeding program.

Meanwhile, the P5,429,787 worth of livelihood grants will be distributed equally among the 181 child laborers by their barangay officials.

Mercado said the livelihood grant is part of the DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (Dileep), which mainly targets the parents of child laborers.

Under Dileep, parents of the child laborers are given assistance in the form of cash or Negosyso sa Kariton or Nego-Kart (a project for ambulant vendors in major cities of the country) and starter kits that they can use for their livelihood.

The DOLE believes this will help remove children from working at a young age to help their parents sustain their family’s needs.

Beneficiaries from Sawang Calero were the second to receive the livelihood aid this year.

The first one was given to child laborers and their families in Barangay Alang-Alang in Mandaue City on Labor Day, May 1.

Mercado, however, said they still could not identify their next beneficiaries.

The DOLE is still in the profiling process for its next batch of recipients for livelihood assistance, she added.

Mercado said DOLE launched the event in 2002 as an advocacy to stop child labor and reduce its cases in the country.