Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday emphasized the need to enhance the social protection of mobile professionals and skilled workers as increased trade and investment activities take place in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies.
“As we sum up the vital APEC meetings that took place in 2015 and look forward to its another significant and fruitful edition in 2016, it is clearly important that we must secure our human resources who will be actively taking part in the mobility of professionals and skilled workers in the region. That is why, as head of the Philippines’ APEC Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG), we worked on enhancing our mobile workers’ social protection,” said Baldoz in a press release.
As a result of economic integration, Baldoz added that APEC economies are actively pursuing intensified trade and investments, requiring talents and skills from migrant workers within the region who, despite their economic contribution, usually find themselves in vulnerable situations.
“With this challenge, the PH-APEC-HRDWG, in partnership with Chinese Taipei, mounted the Seminar on Facilitating Human Resource Mobility by Enhancing Social Protection. Such undertaking gained the support and participation of seven APEC economies,” said Baldoz.
“We are pleased that outcomes of this undertaking was welcomed by the APEC Ministers, as articulated in the 2015 APEC Joint Ministerial Statement, which called on the HRDWG to identify policy priorities concerning global workers and address gaps to enhance their social protection,” Baldoz added.
The labor chief cited the efforts of the PH-APEC-HRDWG for the successful holding of the seminar, which she said paved the way for the inclusion of social protection for mobile workers under the Social Protection Framework presented at the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster’s Assessment Based National Dialogue (ABND).
“We have also tasked the DOLE’s Institute for Labor Studies to provide more comprehensive and innovative research on Bilateral Agreements and Social Security Agreements within the APEC region, while the Employees’ Compensation Commission will work on the establishment of a database or portal of Social Security provisions within the agreements among APEC economies. This will be conducted in close coordination with the Social Security System and the Philippine Health Corporation,” said Baldoz.
Secretary Baldoz, who heads the PH-APEC-Human Resource Development Working Group, lauded the PH-APEC-HRDWG member agencies, namely the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the quality of their substantive contribution that led to the huge success of the working group’s hosting of HRDWG meetings in Subic and Boracay under the margins of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) 1 and 2, respectively; as well as in both the Ministers’ and the Leaders’ meetings in Manila last November 2015.
Baldoz said that as the lead agency of the PH-APEC-HRDWG, the DOLE had reported on the Working Group’s initiatives and deliverables to the APEC National Organizing Committee (NOC) which highlighted labor and social protection, education, and capacity building.
“As emphasized during the 37th HRDWG meeting in Boracay, social protection is integral to building sustainable and inclusive economies by reducing poverty, improving social inclusivity and stability and enhancing human capital through investments in education, income support, as well as health and social services,” said Baldoz.
At the close of 2015, the labor and employment chief encouraged the APEC Philippines to continue the momentum as it looks forward to another fruitful participation in the 2016 APEC meeting in Peru.