Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday commented that one of the core strategies to eradicate extreme poverty is convergence among all social actors to uplift the plight of informal sector workers.

Baldoz made the comment as the Department of Labor and Employment joins the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and other sectors in the ongoing observance of the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty (NWOEP) from 17 to 23 October 2013.

The week-long observance, on the theme, “End Poverty Now: Towards a World Without Discrimination, Building on the Experience and Knowledge of People in Extreme Poverty,” is an occasion that dovetails with DOLE efforts to ensure substantial intervention to uplift the condition of the most disadvantaged sectors, including workers in the informal sector.

“While  the observance focuses the limelight on the role of the NAPC, the DOLE, together with the its tripartite partners, including the civil society, is mindful that all social actors need to converge their resources, expertise, and energy to lick poverty among rural workers, the fisher folk, laborers and migrants, women workers, and victims of child labor to achieve inclusive growth,” Baldoz said.

She recalled that at the Informal Sector (IS) Labor Day celebration on 15 May this year, the DOLE, NAPC and 19 other agencies of government joined the informal sector, organized labor, and employers in signing a “Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the National Convergence Program for Establishing a Social Protection Floor for Workers in the Informal Sector”.

In support of the observance, Baldoz issued Administrative Order No. 413, Series of 2013, enjoining all DOLE bureaus, services, regional and provincial offices, and attached agencies to participate in the national observance “in line with the NAPC’s conduct of the national convergence activity.”

She directed the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns to be the focal bureau for the DOLE’s participation. She also directed the DOLE to recite the “Universal Prayer” and “Panalangin ng Bayan” in the Department’s flag raising ceremony to mark the national observance.  The “Panalangin ng Bayan” was adopted from the “Universal Prayer” led by Fr. Joseph Wresinski who launched the first World Day for Overcoming Poverty in Paris, France on 17 October 1987.

Secretary Jose Eliseo M. Rocamora of the NAPC, voicing his agency’s all-out support to the
DOLE-led program said informal sector workers, while vulnerable, are too important to be left alone.

“Itong programa ay napakahalaga dahil binibigyan ng realidad ‘yung tinutulak ng President na convergence kung saan magtutulungan ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno para sa informal sector,” Rocamora said of the MOU.

Citing the convergence program for the poor, especially informal workers, Baldoz said: “It is a fitting occasion to congratulate the NAPC, which formally marks its 15th Anniversary this year, on the ongoing observance.”

The observance of the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty finds basis in the International Charter of the United Nations which proclaimed the “World Day for Overcoming Poverty” on 17 October 1987.  Subsequent Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines had issued Proclamation No. 269 Declaring October 17 of Every Year as the National Day for Overcoming Poverty on 13 October 1993, while Proclamation No. 717 dated 18 October 2004 likewise declared the weekly observance from 17 to 23 October each year.

(For any questions about this good news, please call the BWSC at tel. no. 527-5857.)

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