Text and photos by Richard R. Gappi
July 19, 2017; Wednesday, 10:37AM

U.S. Department of Labor officials Monika Hartsel and Rommel Calderwood this Wednesday morning, July 19, 2017, validated and reviewed Angono’s sustained programs and projects as the 1st Child Labor Free Municipality in the Philippines.

Mayor Gerry Calderon, regional labor officials, local and barangay officials, police officials, municipal department heads, and civil society leaders welcomed the guests.

Angono Public Employment Service Office in charge Jolan Aralar provided the overview of the municipality’s presentation.

Hartsel expressed her admiration for what Angono has done and noted that the town’s template in solving child labor can be replicated as model by other towns and local government units.

Barangay village captains each narrated their efforts in providing interventions such as training and livelihood to parents and households where child workers were initially identified.

Mayor Gerry Calderon, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to local officials and civil society volunteers for sustaining their effort in keeping Angono free from child labor.

Mayor Gerry added that his child labor free program is part of the town’s physical and institutional renovation and innovation in developing Angono which was once a sleepy town and 3rd class municipality.

The mayor highlighted his strategy on governance which he described as transparent, participatory, area-based and volunteer-driven decision-making process and development.

After the briefing, Hartsel and other guests received small paintings, their portrait sketched by local artists, and hand-crafted higantitos (small giants) as souvenir.

The paintings were drawn by poor URS Angono students and informal settlers who are beneficiaries of the national government’s Bottom Up Budgeting livelihood program, according to Tourism consultant Arys Maniaol. (With reports from Elida Bianca Marcial)

Know more about Municipality of Angono’s 1st Child Labor Free Municipality in the Philippines award:

REWIND/Features: 1st Child Labor Free Municipality in the Philippines

By Jolan Aralar and Ma. Concepcion Malabanan, OJT, Angono Public Information Office/PUP Manila

Children are one of the most vulnerable sectors of our society. As such, when they are gravely threatened and endangered by circumstances which affect their survival and normal development, it is the duty of the local government unit to act and ensure the best interests of children in all actions concerning them.

Three years ago, Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon accepted the reality that there were child laborers in the municipality. It was the mayor’s principle that problems as serious as child labor incidence must not be ignored and ‘swept under the rug.’

“Problems should be accepted as facts and that the municipality in coordination and cooperation with concerned national agencies shall strategize to eradicate it,” Mayor Calderon said.

Related story:

1st Child Labor Free Municipality in the Philippines