The government is vying for the transition of informal sector workers into the formal economy, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said over the weekend.
Speaking before a joint Labor Day celebration with the National Anti-Poverty Commission Workers in the Informal Sector Council (NAPC-WISC) in Davao, Bello said the labor department is fully behind the recommendation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to provide the sector with an enabling atmosphere to be absorbed by the formal economy.
“Despite their economic and social contributions, workers in the informal sector are insufficiently covered by labor laws and standards. That is why DOLE is vying for the ILO’s edict,” Bello said, referring to ILO Recommendation No. 204.
DOLE, he added, is seriously taking steps to ensure that this is realized.
The labor department, together with the NAPC-WISC, has conducted consultative workshops to identify key policy gaps and challenges in relation to the government’s thrust in addressing informality, as well as strategies and models to operationalize the transition from informal to formal economy.
The consultative workshops are aimed toward a legislative measure that will address the root causes of informality and formalize the informal economic units and its workers.
In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the DOLE launched an initiative called Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) where part of the key outputs are the Blueprint for Decent Employment and Entrepreneurship for 2017-2022 and the Livelihood Agenda 2017-2022.
The initiative aims to transform livelihood into competitive, resilient, and sustainable enterprises by encouraging the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the full implementation of the GoNegosyo Law, the MSME Development Plan, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs.
The Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) implements the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) to reduce the vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers.
Since July last year, about 54,643 workers were provided with livelihood assistance which included Starter Kits or Negosyo sa Kariton (Nego-Kart), Enterprise Development Program, Workers Income Augmentation, and Youth Entrepreneurship Support.
Bello has also issued Department Order No. 173 or the revised guidelines in the implementation of the DILEEP.
Through the D.O., the maximum per capital assistance to beneficiaries was raised from P10,000 to P20,000. On top of that is the provision of sanitary tools and equipment for livelihood projects and the provision of micro-insurance to beneficiaries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), an attached agency of the DOLE, also offers free OSH appreciation course to help ensure the safety and protection of informal sector workers, thus improving their productivity.
Moreover, to guarantee that workers from the informal sector are being represented at social dialogues, the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) has issued an advisory directing the reconstitution of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils (RTIPCs) by including representations from the informal sector.
On Saturday, DOLE and NAPC-WISC jointly held the 6th Workers in the Informal Economy Labor Day in Davao City, with the theme, “Boses, Pagkilala at Pakikilahok sa Pamamahala Tungo sa Matatag na Negosyo at Kabuhayan.”