Photo by Marhom Ibrahim/BIO
COTABATO CITY—Bangsamoro Government, along with the International Labour Organization (ILO), is stepping up its efforts against child exploitation and prevention of child labor in the Bangsamoro autonomous region.
Officials and representatives from the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) and the National government’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) gathered here on March 9, during the Bangsamoro Regional Action Plan Against Child Labour (BRAP-CL) Forum and discussed significant matters based on the actual situation of children on the ground.
Representing the National government, DOLE Undersecretary for Labor Relations, Policy, and International Affairs Cluster Atty. Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio, Jr. presented the salient points of BRAP-CL.
Accordingly, BRAP-CL intends to end child labor in the region by 2030 through raising awareness, provision of cash assistance and livelihood programs, capacity building, and establishment of strong mechanisms with other stakeholders.
Bitonio further underscored the vital roles of other ministries, offices, academe, non-government organizations, and concerned agencies including media organizations as potential partners to eliminate child labor across the Bangsamoro region.
Meanwhile, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said the Government of the Day guarantees that Bangsamoro children are protected from any exploitation.
“I assure you that this government will do everything in its power to deliver the programs and services that our people have been long deprived of. This is one of many efforts of this government that only manifests our unwavering commitment to our vision of eradicating child labor practices across the region,” Ebrahim added.
He further stressed that BARMM leadership is united with other concerned partners who have relevant projects and programs for the welfare and advocacy of children to achieve a just and peaceful society.
Apart from the technical support provided by the ILO, the organization also handed over eight computer sets, furniture, a child labor training manual, and other advocacy materials to the ministry for child labor unit use.
Furthermore, MOLE Minister Muslimin Sema, who described himself as a victim of child labor during the armed struggle, took it into account in his strong commitment as the lead agency to work to eliminate and prevent child labor in the region, saying: “I will ensure that Bangsamoro children will enjoy their life stages and develop their skills and education.”
“It is my moral obligation, my commitment, and my sworn duty to protect our children from any harmful engagement and work activities that will destroy their well-being,” Sema said. (Johaira Sahidala/BIO with reports from MOLE-ICD)