COTABATO CITY — The first leg of capacity building to promote compliance and enforcement of child labor laws in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was rolled out on May 23-25, at the Em Manor Hotel and Convention, in this city.

Focal persons of the Child Labor Protection Units in both regional and field offices and other concerned personnel of the ministry underwent a 3-day capacity building.

The 3-day training is part of the project of the International Labour Organization (ILO), with support from the government of Japan, which aims to capacitate the BARMM ministries, law enforcement agencies, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and other stakeholders to intensify enforcement of child labor laws in the region.

It was facilitated by the Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People (IRDP), a non-government organization based in Zamboanga City led by Kalma J. Isnain, executive director. The IRDP implements various projects for community and social development, and humanitarian and emergency response. 

The ILO through its Country Director for the Philippines Khalid Hassan has been supporting the ministry in its efforts on child labor prevention and eradication in the region.

Labor Minister Muslimin G. Sema underscored, in his message that was delivered by Director General Datu Surab A. Abutazil, Jr, that the Bangsamoro government is serious in its bid to eliminate child labor in the region.

“Our collaboration offers a chance to sway and influence change and identify the roles and commitments of the different stakeholders, particularly the government agencies, non-government organizations, private businesses, local chief executives, local leaders, as well as the parents of the child laborers and the child laborers themselves, which will contribute towards the achievement of a child-labor free BARMM,” Sema underscored.

“Our shared commitment to creating a functional information system on child labor, institutionalizing and strengthening partnerships, facilitating access to services, mainstreaming child labor agenda, engaging in advocacy activities, and enhancing the enforcement and observance of anti-child labor laws is what brought us here today in this gathering,” he added.

The training covered the seven modules of the Child Labor Training Manual including the difference of child work from child labor, local and international statistics on child labor, ILO conventions on child labor, Philippine laws and regulations on child labor, and other relevant topics, including a special session on child labor in Islamic perspective.

As emphasized by Yasuo Ariga, ILO’s Chief Technical Adviser, accelerating collaborations among stakeholders is significant to provide a holistic approach on child labor issues. (MOLE-ICD)