MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and World Vision Development Foundation Inc. signed on Monday a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of Project Against Child Exploitation (ACE).
Project ACE is a three-year child welfare protection project in Northern Mindanao and Metro Manila.
“This aims to further strengthen the capacity of our social workers and other stakeholders to address the worst forms of child labor, including online, sexual exploitation of children and violations of acceptable conditions of work of children in the pilot areas,” DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said during the ceremonial signing.
Project ACE will adopt DSWD’s Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) against child labor.
“I hope that with the combination of this project, we can look forward to achieving a society that is free from child labor and other forms of child abuse and exploitation particularly in target areas,” Bautista added.
The DSWD defined the project as a ground to improve the enforcement of the legal framework in addressing the worst forms of child labor including online sexual exploitation of children and violations of acceptable conditions of work, to enhance services, and to assist survivors.
World Vision national director Rommel Fuerte said the partnership complements the declaration of 2021 as the international year to eliminate child labor.
“World Vision places children at the center of everything we do. We help transform communities for children to thrive and fulfill their dreams. We empower children to realize their rights and encourage families to protect their children so their bright future cannot be stolen from them,” he added.
Aside from Project ACE, the group has been creating educational programs and interventions for children involved in or transitioning in from child labor.
International Labor Organization (ILO) data showed child labor has decreased by 38 percent in the last decade but 152 million children are still affected.
ILO said the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the situation but joint and decisive action can reverse the trend.