Barangay official strives for a happy and safe community for all children in CDO City

By: Pauline Giselle Navarro, World Vision Philippines

Children must be protected from all kinds of abuse and exploitation since they are among the most vulnerable members of society.

This was emphasized by Barangay Captain Marlo Tabac who said “it is very important because they are the future of our country and because we want to build a community that is happy, healthy, and safe for all.” Tabac, from Gusa, was one of the participants of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) Orientation on Functionality, Child Protection Law and Referral Mechanism on February 26 – 29, 2024 in Cagayan De Oro City (CDO).

The event was organized by World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. – Project Against Child Exploitation (ACE) in partnership with the City Council for the Protection of Children (CCPC), Liga ng mga Brangay of Cagayan de Oro City, aiming to increase awareness among BCPCs on child rights and prevailing issues on Worst forms of child labor (WFCL), including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) and violations of acceptable conditions of work (ACW).

Captain Tabac is currently the Vice Chairman of the Liga ng mga Barangay in CDO. He has actively participated in various Project ACE activities since its implementation in 2020. In fact, Barangay Gusa was one of the 24 barangays who were recognized during the Most Child-Friendly Barangays Awarding Ceremony which was conducted on February 26, 2024 where World Vision’s Project ACE also received a recognition for its unwavering support to the LGU in promoting child protection in the city.

With the newly elected officials taking over at the barangay level, discussions on child labor, CDO child protection framework, local development plan for children, and barangay budget process were presented on the first day.

“Investing in education, health, and child protection is the best investment of a local government unit. Barangay officials must invest in education, health, and child protection. Children who are protected and taken cared of will be responsible citizens of a community in the future. If they were protected at a young age, you’ll see them as community leaders and successful professionals,” Tabac emphasized.

State of the Children’s Report presented by CSWD showed that despite preventive efforts, eight cases related to OSAEC were reported. In addition, CDO City Child Laborer Situationer of 2022 stated that 3,295 were profiled for the Fiscal Year 2022 and they were referred to different government agencies for appropriate services.

These showed that while efforts and initiatives have been made, there is still a long way to go to eliminate child labor and strengthen child protection in the city.

Participants were from the local government unit composed of Barangay Captains, BCPC focal persons, Sangguniang Kabataan Federations, City Social Welfare and Development Office, CCPC staff, among many others.

Capt. Tabac hopes that other barangay officials will also serve the best interest of its people. “Put your heart in public service and remember public service is not a business but an opportunity for you to serve the less fortunate people in your community primarily the children. We must serve our children the best way possible,” he said.

Project ACE is currently working in three barangays in CDO: Barangay Puntod, Gusa, and Cugman. Since its implementation, the project has reached not only the three barangays but all 80 of them. In fact, last February 24, 2023, it organized a child labor forum for all barangay leaders to involve them in its advocacy against WFCL.

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL 34007-19-75-K. 100 percent of the total costs of the project in the Philippines is financed with United States Department of Labor funds. 

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