A new deal with the ILO and DOLE aims to boost over 30,000 workers’ productivity in COVID-19 and typhoon-hit areas.

PAMPANGA – A new collaboration will support more than 30,000 workers by increasing their productivity and employability. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) joined forces on Labor Day to support workers affected by COVID-19 and Typhoon Odette.

The new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will boost productivity and employability in micro, small and medium enterprises as well as the informal economy. It bolsters the country’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to restore business confidence through safe and healthy workplaces and upgrade digital skills of workers.

“The whole-of-society approach of the NERS Task Force has been key to its accomplishments in the past year,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III noted, “The same synergy between and among the government, business, and labor sectors remains pivotal as we pursue initiatives that create, sustain, and transform jobs beyond the pandemic.”

ILO, DOLE ink agreement to help workers return to work safely and digitally

The NERS and its Action Plan are based on ILO’s four policy areas to stimulate the economy and employment, support enterprises, jobs and incomes, protect workers in the workplace, and rely on social dialogue to find solutions. The ILO Global Call to Action further lays out a roadmap to an inclusive, sustainable, resilient, human-centered recovery from COVID-19 adopted by member States including the Philippines.

“The COVID-19 and Typhoon Odette have a dual impact on workers and businesses struggling to recover from the crisis. For responses and policies to be effective, they must be human-centered. The ILO will partner with DOLE, workers and employers to promote safe and healthy workplaces, as well as to provide digital business development and financial services,” said Director Khalid Hassan of the Country Office for the Philippines.

The new agreement will be implemented through the ILO’s project on Bringing Back Jobs Safely under the COVID-19 Crisis in the Philippines: Rebooting Small and Informal Businesses Safely and Digitally. Funded by the Government of Japan, it will promote occupational safety and health, strengthen digital skills and entrepreneurship, and expand access to internet connectivity and co-working spaces for enterprises and vulnerable workers nationwide. It is part of the ILO’s Safety + Health for All Flagship Program to improve safety and health globally.

“The MSMEs must be equipped to adapt to the new normal for steady recovery that will benefit both enterprises and workers. As we highly value our relationship with the Philippines, rest assured that Japan will remain committed to providing support for the long term. We are truly grateful for this initiative, and we look forward to adding more to our roster of development cooperation with the ILO,” said Mr Nakata Masahiro, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

Under the MOA, DOLE through its respective attached agencies and bureaus, will support the operationalization of the training programs, lead the project’s governance mechanism, and will sustain the interdisciplinary knowledge management system. The ILO will be responsible for developing training materials and providing capacity building for the national trainers endorsed by DOLE and other project partners, as well as the overall monitoring of succeeding training of entrepreneurs.