The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has opened a 24-hour labor hotline for reports on the mistreatment of children whose parents are working overseas.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the announcement a day after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) enjoining government agencies to improve safeguards for children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
"We have to protect these children. One way of protecting them is to report this to our Hotline 1349," Bello said in a statement on Saturday.
"We will investigate, and if necessary, rescue the child. Mahirap kasi na ang pinagtitiwalaan mo na mag-aalaga sa anak mo ay iyon pa ang mag-aabuso sa mga bata," he said.
One such case is the death of a two-year-old boy who died from the abuse inflicted on him by his guardians while his mother worked in Hong Kong.
The MOU was also signed in response to a study by the Council for the Welfare of Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pointing at migration as one of the reasons for physical, sexual, or psychological violence to children.
DOLE originally launched its 24/7 hotline in September to allow Filipino workers, locally and abroad, to inquire about their rights and benefits and to report various labor-related crimes and violations.
Bello in 2016 said he expected OFWs to use the hotline the most in response to the oil crisis in Saudi Arabia that continues to plague thousands of Filipinos in the gulf country. —Rie Takumi/ALG, GMA News