Baldoz enunciates Philippine support to ILO's vision of decent work and social protection to vulnerable workers

Date Posted: June 18th, 2013 01:33 AM

On the eve of ILO's centenary
Baldoz enunciates Philippine support to ILO's vision of decent work and social protection to vulnerable workers

Geneva--To an audience composed mainly of leaders from the International Labor Organization’s member states, trade unions, employers, and civil society organizations, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday delivered here a statement in the 102nd ILO Conference with a pledge of Philippine support to the ILO’s decent work agenda, saying the country recognizes decent work as a very important element of any development strategy.

“The Aquino III administration recognizes decent work as primordial to any development strategy predicated on inclusive growth to improve the quality of life of our people. We reaffirm our support to the ILO as it engages the tripartite constituents in building a future of decent work under a regime of social justice and social cohesion,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz also boldly challenged the ILO "to continuously review the relevance of international standards to the fast changing world of work and to equip its constituents with capacities to easily adjust and adapt and make decent work a distinct reality in every workplace."

Apprising the ILO on the reforms undertaken by the Philippines in order to promote, achieve, and maintain decent work for Filipino workers, Baldoz said that "achieving sustainable and inclusive growth that generates decent jobs remains to be the priority concern that ILO’s tripartite constituents must confront as they look toward the centenary of ILO's global leadership in the 21st century world of work."

Each speaker in the ILO conference, as stated in the rules, is allowed only five minutes to deliver his statement, and Baldoz succinctly delivered her statement within the allotted time.
She spoke candidly about the persistent problems of unemployment and underemployment the Philippines despite a growing economy.
"The 7.8 percent economic growth rate of the Philippines has been preceded by an improvement in the global competitiveness and the achievement of first grade investment rating. The positive growth, however, continues to present a formidable challenge to the persistent problems of unemployment and underemployment," she said, but hastened to add that "there are good indicators that the quality of jobs and the country's decent work profile are improving."

She cited that the ratio of the self-employed and unpaid family workers to total employment is narrowing; that wage and salary and full time employment is expanding; and that mean hours of work is increasing.

In her statement, Baldoz lauded the country's tripartite partners for their broad participation in policy and decision-making processes, describing it as "unprecedented, propelled by the recent law strengthening tripartism and social dialogue.""The tripartite partners continue to respond to challenges with a combination of reforms that help create a positive climate for investment and improve the employment situation," she said.
"Industry roadmaps for growth are being crafted to mainstream employment as central to development strategy of inclusive growth," she added.
She particularly mentioned the passage of a law institutionalizing the Single Entry Approach for fair, speedy, and inexpensive labor justice. The SEnA mandates a 30-day conciliation of all labor cases, making arbitration as a last resort.

She highlighted the progress in the Philippines's efforts to protect workers' wages and benefits through a mix of developmental and regulatory approaches, such as the hiring of  600 labor law compliance officers who will implement a new labor law compliance system that will benefit micro, small, and medium enterprises.

“With technical assistance from the ILO and an additional budget of P286 million, the new system covers joint assessment of compliance to general labor standards, safety and health, child labor, freedom of association, collective bargaining, and maritime labor regulations using real-time data captured and transmitted from the field using an electronic checklist stored in mobile devices and gadgets,” she added.
Baldoz also reported that the Philippines has ratified ILO Convention 189 and enacted a national law, the Batas Kasambahay, that fully recognizes the basic rights and benefits of household service workers.
"Just recently, we have concluded with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a bilateral agreement including a standard employment contract that embodies universally-accepted terms and conditions of employment of household service workers. Similar agreements with other countries in the region are under negotiation," she said.

"We have already taken concrete steps in securing decent and productive work for its workers. The implementation of the Kindergarten Education Act, the Enhanced Basic Education Act, and the Philippines Qualifications Framework addresses the deficiencies in the country’s education and training system, while the pursuit for a nationally-defined social protection floor (SPF) has been addressed using the ILO Recommendation on SPF," she explained.

Baldoz admitted that the country still needs to address challenges posed by climate change, social protection for those at risk, and linking migration with development, among others.

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