Gov Marañon Admits: Education Key Solution to Poverty

"Education is the best solution to poverty." Thus said Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr, during the launching yesterday of ABK 3 Child Labor Monitoring System at Nature’s Village, Talisay City.

ABK 3 is a project of the Provincial Council for the Rights and Welfare of Children (PCRWC), advocating to eliminate child labor in 15 cities/municipalities of Negros Occidental.

Present during the launching yesterday were partners of the project - Edith Villanueva of the Sugar Industry Foundation Inc (SIFI), former Negros Occ. Gov. Rafael Lito Coscolluela, now national president of the Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations, Inc. (CONFED), Mei Ling Tan of Nokia-Microsoft, Asia-Pacific, Daphne Culanag of ABK3 Livelihood, Education, Advocacy and Protection; ERDA, World Vision, Child Fund, DSWD, DOLE, and other government agencies. It was reported that in Negros Occidental, from 60 barangays in 15 cities/municipalities, there are 30,760 households with children working in sugarcane farms. These areas identified are Bacolod City, Bago City, Cauayan, Escalante City, Kabankalan City, La Castellana, Manapla, Moises Padilla, Murcia, Sagay City, San Carlos City, Silay City, Talisay City, Toboso, and Victorias City.

Thus children aged 5 to 17 years old work in the sugarcane farms, because of poverty.

Marañon said, the ABK 3 move to help the children attend classes in school instead of working in sugarcane farms, is a great step to address poverty, because education is a solution to child labor.

He also said, "since 1963, the World Bank has wasted billions of dollars because of corruption. We can reduce poverty with our battle cry – walang mahirap kung walang corrupt. This battle cry from Pres. Noynoy Aquino will be effective if the next leader will be like him (PNoy). "

Coscolluela said, everytime the children are not in school, we parents are depriving them of their future.

SIFI according to Villanue-va, gathers parents, barangay officials, planters, leaders and other stakeholders to prevent child labor in the sugarcane farms, as well as protect the rights of the child and eliminate the problem of child labor.

Considering that Nokia-Microsoft helps this program – child labor monitoring system, during the data gathering in the barangays as to the volume of child labor in the barangays and other pertinent information, through the hardware tools donated to the province, Tan said, the mobile phone is a tool to connect, enhance one’s income, and a tool to strive for a better future. Let us embrace ABK3 LEAP and make the most of it during the years ahead.

We can help keep the children out of hazardous labor, improve quality education, change attitude of communities and parents, form better policies, create relevant programs and reduce poverty – all supported by continued and effective monitoring and up-to-date information.*