Filipinos are known to be family-oriented, care and love for the family are innate to its culture.

Oftentimes, children would already have dreams and plans on how to help their family. Especially if these children are experiencing hardships due to poverty.

A mixed of emotions for Neva Cuyos, 19 year-old resident of Mamburao,Occ. Mindoro each time she remembers the times when she needs to work to help her parents to fulfill their responsibilities for the family and for her seven-year-old brother with a medical condition.

Her father works as a fisherman earning Php3,000.00 monthly while her mother is responsible for the household chores and taking care of her brother.

When she turned 16, Neva worked as a saleslady in a retail store with 14 hours of duty and a daily salary of Php200.00 only. She endured this much as she felt that her income is crucial for their household especially on the medical needs of her brother.

“Mahirap talaga, pero kailangan para may pandagdag sa gastusin sa bahay, dahil hindi naman sapat ang kinikita ng aking tatay, kailangan ko tumulong para may maipambili narin ng gamot ng aking kapatid,” Neva said. (It’s really hard, but I need to work to complement the household expenses since my father’s income is not enough, I need to help them so we can also buy medicines for my brother.)

Through the conduct of profiling of child laborers under Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2019, Neva’s hardship was considered prompting the department to grant a sari-sari store livelihood under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) worth Php15,440.00.

DOLE MIMAROPA Regional Director Atty. Joffrey M. Suyao said, “This kind of story deserves to be heard by the government and must be given an assistance that would somehow help them to alleviate from poverty. The department continues the profiling activity as part of the government’s action to reach out these children who are victims of poverty and to end child labor”

A small amount of this may seem to others, but it brings more blessings to the Cuyos family. After a one-month time, they were able to improve their house condition like concreting their floor as their area usually gets flooded during rainy days.

“Maraming salamat po sa DOLE para sa tulong na ibinigay ninyo sa aming pamilya. Nagpapasalamat kami dahil isa kami sa mapalad na napili ninyo para mabigyan ng pangkabuhayan. Sa ngayon po ay tumigil na ako sa pagtatrabaho at dito na ako nakatuon sa aming tindahan, maari ko na rin maipagpatuloy ang aking pag-aaral. Napakalaking tulong ito para sa aking pamilya na makaahon narin sa kahirapan,” Neva said. (We thank DOLE for the assistance given to our family. We are blessed because we are chosen to qualify under your livelihood project. I have already stopped working in the retail store and manage the store instead. I can also continue my studies now. It has been a great help for my family to get out of poverty as well)

One thing she had learned from being a child labor, she shared,” Totoong mahirap ang buhay, pero gaano man kabigat ang dinadala natin, huwag tayong susuko. Mahirap at mali ang maging child laborer, kaya’t dapat magsumikap talaga tayo na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral para hindi na maranasan ito ng magiging pamilya natin” (Life is tough, but no matter how hard, do not give up. It is difficult to be a child laborer, so we must finish our studies for our future family not to experience these hardships.)”


End/Gener L. Francisco; Mary Joy N. Gregorio