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Cotabato City villagers join foreign-assisted anti-child labor drive

COTABATO CITY — Sectoral leaders in one of the barangays in Cotabato City completed a two-day foreign assisted anti-child labor workshop in support of the efforts of its residents to stop the use of children either as laborers or combatants. 

The activity, jointly facilitated by the office of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is an agency of the United Nations, the Ministry of Labor and Employment-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People (IRDT), was assisted by the Government of Japan, a longtime benefactor of humanitarian programs of the BARMM government.

Cotabato City Vice Mayor Johari Abu said on Friday that his office will support the anti-child labor thrusts of the MoLE-BARMM in all of the 37 barangays here.

“I will let staff members of my office to study possible enabling measures that we in the Sangguniang Panglungsod can possibly have to complement that campaign,” Abu said.

Bangsamoro Labor Minister Muslimin Sema and a senior staff of their Bureau of Employment Promotion and Welfare, Farhina Aiza Adam, on Friday separately expressed gratitude to the ILO, the Japanese government and the IRDT for cooperating with MoLE-BARMM in organizing the workshop, which is essential to the peace and development agenda of the government’s peace overture with southern Moro communities.

More than 50 barangay officials, community elders and parents involved in barangay peacebuilding projects in Barangay Poblacion 9 in Cotabato city participated in the activity that started Wednesday. It was held at a private function facility near the BARMM regional capitol.

Residents of Barangay Poblacion 9 are actively supporting the joint anti-child labor thrusts of the MoLE-BARMM, the ILO and the IRDT.

Besides its anti-child labor thrusts, the MoLE-BARMM, whose minister is chairman of the central committee of the Moro National Liberation Front, also has special programs meant to prevent the use of children as combatants.

Through consensus-building sessions, participants of the workshop had formulated strategies on how to boost their anti-child labor efforts in their villages.