The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has forged and continues to strengthen good ties with the European Union (EU) Delegation as the two institutions discussed various labor concerns in a dinner meeting in Manila.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, along with other DOLE Senior officials personally received and extended his sincerest gratitude to the EU Delegation, headed by H.E. Ambassador Franz Jessen as well as to the ambassadors of the EU member countries.

“Through this simple dinner, we are forging strong ties and good foreign relations with our friends from the European Delegation. The Labor Department truly supports the alliance and its efforts towards improving labor standards here in the Philippines and in other nations,” Bello said.

DOLE has been invited by the EU Delegation in a discussion on topics such as EU-Philippines relations; the peace process with the National Democratic Front (NDF), domestic developments in the Philippines which focuses on labor policies; labor migration; and issues on child labor.

Bello said that for the past years, DOLE has been keen on reviewing and improving the labor policies in the country to protect the welfare and rights of Filipino workers. It is also the labor department’s responsibility in ensuring that the working conditions of every Filipino employed in other countries, particularly in Europe, are well and harmonious.

The labor chief briefly discussed DOLE efforts in curbing child labor in the Philippines citing the recent Department Order No. 14, released on February 15, 2016 which sets the guidelines in assessing and determining hazardous work in the employment of persons below 18 years of age.

“The guidelines enumerate different work and activities declared to be hazardous for minors using industrial and occupational classifications. Our goal is to protect Filipino children from being exploited and abused on this nature and upheld their rights and dignity,” Bello added.

Jessen, on behalf of the EU Delegation, expressed their gratitude and commendations to DOLE for its actions and efforts in promoting fair labor policies and its initiative in reaching out to the Filipinos working in European countries.

Bello handed over an inspirational book entitled “Ties That Bind” as a token of appreciation to Jessen for the unwavering support and assistance to DOLE.

The EU Delegation in the Philippines was officially opened on May 15, 1991 with the aim to strengthen EU-Philippine relations. It also promotes strong economic and trade ties and in forging partnership and cooperation agreements. The alliance also supports the government’s efforts to restore peace in Mindanao.

#Paul Ang

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