ABOUT 108 children engaged in child labor in Davao Region have been assisted in the pilot implementation of the Strategic Helpdesk for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (Shield) Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Davao Region (DSWD-Davao).

As of July 6,2022, the Department of Labor and Employment-Davao Region (Dole-Davao) reported that they profiled more than 20,000 child laborers in the region in the last four years, the highest number they recorded was in 2021 with 10,797. Of this number, 108 child laborers are from Davao City.

DSWD Shield focal person Dan Niel Salvador said children in Davao Region are mostly engaged in construction and worked as street vendors. In rural areas, most of the children who are involved in child labor are working in farms.

Salvador said, although they want to help more children, their existing budget limits their capacity to assist.

“On our end, limited lang pud among budget. We are prioritizing katong mga in need gyud kaayo nga mga bata, sa 200 ka mga bata nga gi-refer sa amoa, not automatically nga sila tanan matagaan og assistance (We only have a limited budget. Thus, we have to prioritize those who are really in need. If 200 children were referred to us, we are not able to cater to all of them), but the rest of it (those who will not be catered) will be referred to other agencies,” Salvador said.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the agricultural sector has the highest number of working children in 2020 in the country at 47.4 percent. Services sectors came next with 43.4 percent total of working children, while the industry sector recorded 9.1 percent.

The Shield project was officially launched in 2021 and is under Republic Act 9231 which aims to “contribute to the removal of one million children from child labor by 2025, as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL)”.

In Davao Region, five LGUs have already committed to implementing the Shield project – Davao City, Panabo City, Magsaysay in Davao del Sur, Asuncion in Davao del Norte, and Nabunturan in Davao de Oro. KSD