QC Memorial Circle declared child labor-free zone

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — The Quezon City Memorial Circle (QMC) has been declared a child labor-free zone by Mayor Joy Belmonte in celebration of National Children's Month.

"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 in a statement released Sunday.

[Translation: There are no illegal child employees in all the establishments here. And a Child Protection Policy is also in place to immediately address any reports or incidents of child exploitation.]

During her State of the City's Children Report, Belmonte awarded the Seal of Child Labor-Free Zone to QMC after all of its tenants, guards, gardeners, and admin staff underwent extensive training for Child Rights and Child Labor 101.

Belmonte added it was appropriate to declare the area as such because the QMC served as the venue for the Global March Against Child Labor in 1998.

The mayor said she has also established the Quezon City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Special Protection of Street Children and Child Laborers, or Task Force Sampaguita, which consolidates and intensifies efforts to rid the city of all forms of child labor.

Since September, some 296 child laborers have been rescued by the task force, and the city government has also extended financial and educational aid to the families of the victims as well as capital for them to start businesses.

Effort was also taken to provide for the mental health care among children, with a 340-bed residential and rehabilitation center — the New Molave Youth Home — established in Barangay Payatas for children in conflict with the law (CICL), where they are provided with free rehabilitation services, legal aid, and education.

The city has also set aside funds to open a residential facility for children in need of special protection.