Quezon Memorial Circle now a child labor-free zone, says Mayor Joy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2022 07:56 PM

MANILA - The local government of Quezon City, in celebration of National Children's Month, announced that Quezon Memorial Circle is now a child-labor-free zone.

In a statement, the local government said Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte awarded the Seal of Child Labor-Free Zone to QMC. All its tenants, guards, gardeners and administrative staff also underwent extensive training for Child Rights and Child Labor 101.

"Lahat ng establisimyento rito, walang ilegal na batang empleyado. At binuo nila ang kanilang Child Protection Policy upang agarang matugunan ang anumang report o insidente ng child exploitation,” Belmonte said.

As part of the city's efforts to eradicate child labor, Belmonte has established the Quezon City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Special Protection of Street Children and Child Laborers or Task Force Sampaguita.

“Ang Task Force Sampaguita, kung saan ako mismo ang Chairperson, ang bumubuo ng komprehensibong plano, hindi lamang para masagip ang mga biktima, gaya ng mga batang sampaguita vendors, na madalas nating makita sa mga peligrosong lugar, kundi tutukan din ang mga sanhi ng mga ganitong kondisyon, sa pamamagitan ng pagsusuri sa sitwasyon ng kanilang mga pamilya,” Belmonte said.

Since September, Task Force Sampaquita has rescued some 685 individuals, including 296 child workers.

An extensive profiling by the city government also revealed that 5,449 boys and 4,773 girls were victims of child labor. 

ABS-CBN News could not independently verify the city government's number, as of posting time.

Aside from rescuing said child workers, the city government has also extended financial and educational assistance to the families of these victims.

To address the mental health problems among children, Belmonte said the city council has approved the Mental Health Code. With this, the city's first responders, such as barangay employees, teachers and non-teaching staff, will undergo training to address first signs of mental health problems among students.

Belmonte likewise said the New Molave Youth Home, a 340-bed residential and rehabilitation center, has been established in Barangay Payatas for children in conflict with the law.

The city government has earmarked P9.4 million for the opening of Bahay Kalinga in Barangay N.S. Amoranto. This will be a residential facility catering children in need of special protection.

Quezon City also has a Kabahagi Center, which provides free disability assessment and therapy interventions for children with disabilities, and Tahanan, a rehabilitation and treatment center for victims of substance abuse.

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