Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday urged workers in the informal sector to improve and develop their skills so that they could widen their choices, improve their living condition, and enhance their employability, as well as their enterprises.
“Isaalang-alang natin ang layunin ng ating pamahalaan na palawigin pa ang kaalaman at kakayahan ng mga manggagawa sa impormal na ekonomiya upang magkaroon ng disenteng kabuhayan ang nakararami. Kaakibat ng layunin na ito ay ang adhikain na sabay-sabay na maiangat ang estado ng pamumuhay ng lahat ng mamamayan,” said Baldoz in her message to some 30 DOLE-assisted entrepreneurs participating in the DOLE Livelihood Fair being held in Intramuros, Manila as part of the Department’s 82nd Foundation Anniversary Commemoration.
The DOLE celebrates its 82nd Foundation Anniversary on 8 December. This year’s theme for the Department’s anniversary celebration is “82 Taong Mahusay na Serbisyo sa Manggagawang Pilipino”, and the livelihood fair is an activity to make available to DOLE employees and the public goods that DOLE-assisted micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have produced.
“We urge everyone who has time to attend the livelihood fair and buy the products on sale,” Baldoz said.
The Livelihood Fair is spearheaded by the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, in cooperation with the National Wages and Productivity Commission, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, DOLE-National Capital Regional Office, and DOLE Regional Office No. 4-A.
DOLE National Capital Region Director Alex Avila said the 30 MSME-exhibitors, most of which are DOLE-assisted livelihood enterprises, will display their products for sale.
The NWPC has also invited partners to sell affordable basic home commodities under its Diskwento Caravan Sales program. The DOLE Organic Employees Association has also identified members engaged in small business who will participate in the Livelihood Fair.
BWSC Director Ahmma Charisma Satumba bared that 10 of the fair participants are MSMEs sponsored by the DOLE-NCR; five sponsored by the OWWA; five sponsored by the NWPC; four sponsored by DOLE Regional Office No. 4-A; two, by the NRCO; and four, by the OEA.
On exhibit at the Fair are ready-to-wear (RTW) apparel; fashion accessories; jewelry; bags; footwear; Christmas decors; handicraft and leathercraft; and food items.
Baldoz said skills enhancement is a way for workers in the informal sector to equip themselves ready for the ASEAN economic integration which begins this December.
“Ang ASEAN economic integration, bagamat ito ay magbubukas ng maraming oportunidad sa bansa ay isang malaking hamon sa pamahalaan na tiyaking handa ang ating mga manggagawa upang makasabay sa kumpetisyon na dulot nito. Kaya naman pina-iigting natin ang mga programa na makapagbibigay sa mga manggagawa ng sapat na kaalaman, kakayahan, at oportunidad,” said Baldoz.
She said workers in the informal sector constitute a big portion—40 percent of the country’s labor force—or 14 million of the total employed based on the 2015 October round of the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority. Informal sector workers are in various industries, such as agriculture, forestry, fishing, and services sector. Baldoz explained that the country’s informal economy provide opportunities for short-term employment, especially to workers displaced by economic crisis/calamities. “Thus, they contribute to the generation of employment and income,” she said.
Baldoz encouraged the owners of the DOLE-assisted livelihood and their workers to go into competency assessment and certification to improve their productivity and employability. She also directed the National Wages and Productivity Commission to assess which of the exhibitors are ready to undergo the DOLE’s convergence program, “Engage, Motivate, Achieve”, which provides wholistic technical assistance services on productivity.
The labor and employment chief said that to enable MSMEs to move from being enterprises that merely survive to enterprises that can participate in the global value chain, the DOLE, through the NWPC, is utilizing the Productivity Toolbox to enhance MSME competitiveness.
Explained Baldoz: “The Productivity Toolbox is a package of training and technical assistance on productivity improvement for MSMEs. Training under the toolbox are customized, depending on the capacity-building needs of MSMEs, and are intended to instill positive work values among the workforce to improve and mainstream a culture of quality and productivity towards enterprise development and competitiveness.”
From the basic module on quality and productivity improvement, the toolbox now includes Service Quality Training Program, Green My Enterprise Program, ISTIV Plus, Gain-sharing Schemes, and Productivity Enhancement Program for DOLE Livelihood Beneficiaries.
“Since 2010, the DOLE has provided 20,222 MSMEs with technical assistance under the Productivity Toolbox,” she said.
The DOLE Livelihood Fair runs from 1 to 4 December.