The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) demonstrated its strong commitment to advancing labor initiatives in the ASEAN region during the Mid-Term Review Session of the ASEAN Labor Ministers Meeting (ALMM) 2021-2025 on 05-06 July 2023. The DOLE’s active participation and leadership in various projects and discussions contributed to shaping the future direction of the ALMM.

Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio, Jr., representing DOLE as the ALMM Chair and in his capacity as SLOM Chair, delivered the opening remarks, expressing gratitude to all participants for their engagement in the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the ALM 2021-2025. Undersecretary Bitonio acknowledged the significance of the ALMM’s Priority Action Plans (PAPs) in improving institutional capacities, responding to pandemic-related challenges, and driving sustainable growth and development. He also emphasized the importance of continuously assessing program implementation and recalibrating targeted outcomes in alignment with the ASEAN 2025 vision.

Ms. Rodora Babaran, Director of the Human Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat, presented the monitoring and evaluation plan of the ALM Work Programme 2021-2025 and the objectives of the workshop. Notably, each AMS played a pivotal role in recommending short-term and medium-term actions, such as mainstreaming gender into all project activities, reconsidering Key Result Areas (KRAs), and expanding initiatives on capacity building and digitalization activities.

Ms. Mega Irena, Head and Assistant Director of the Labour and Civil Service Division, ASEAN Secretariat, provided updates on the implementation status of the ALM Work Programme and Subsidiary Bodies’ Work Programmes. The DOLE’s active involvement in various thematic areas, including gender mainstreaming, green jobs promotion, corporate social responsibility, and response to the Future of Work, demonstrated its commitment to addressing labor challenges and fostering inclusive employment opportunities.

Undersecretary Carmela I. Torres of the Employment and Human Resource Development Cluster presented updates on the status of projects led by the Philippines. These updates highlighted DOLE’s proactive efforts in strengthening labor market information systems, developing skills competition standards, protecting migrant workers, improving productivity in the agriculture sector, and promoting safe and healthy workplaces. DOLE’s contributions reflect the department’s dedication to advancing labor standards and safeguarding the well-being of workers in the ASEAN region.

The Mid-Term Review Session provided an essential platform for DOLE and other stakeholders to assess progress, identify challenges and opportunities, and strategize a recalibrated plan for the future. DOLE’s active participation and leadership in the ALMM reflect the department’s commitment to ensuring safe, fair, and sustainable labor practices within ASEAN.