Message at the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Job Summit in the Philippines, Labour Day 2021

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Job Summit in the Philippines, Labour Day 2021, 1 May 2021, Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines via Zoom | 01 May 2021
  • His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,
  • Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles,
  • Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, Chair of the NERS Task Force,
  • Co-Chairs Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña,
  • National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua,
  • Senator Imee Marcos,
  • Representative Raymond Democrito Mendoza,
  • Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico,
  • Distinguished members of the NERS Task Force and its hardworking Secretariat,
  • Representatives of government, employers and business sectors, trade unions and workers organizations,
  • Partners from the ADB, UN agencies, and the World Bank,
  • Ladies and gentlemen,
The International Labour Organization is honoured to join this Jobs Summit where businesses and workers put forward their priority agenda through social dialogue under the National Employment Recovery Strategy.

The ILO has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work since early 2020, and actively supported policy responses, research and data analysis. The crisis exposed already existing inequalities and decent work deficits, and threatens to deepen them.

Enterprises and workers in hard-hit sectors are struggling. Vulnerable groups such as women, youth, informal workers and migrant workers are unevenly affected.

We need a human-centred recovery, with social justice and equity. A robust and broad-based recovery, addressing productive employment, income, workers’ rights and social dialogue.

We are pleased that the NERS and its Action Plan are anchored on ILO’s four areas for policy action to stimulate the economy and employment, support enterprises, jobs and incomes, protect workers in the workplace, and rely on social dialogue to find solutions.

Without inclusive and gender-responsive policy interventions, the recovery will continue to be uneven and subject to great uncertainties.

Pro-employment macroeconomic policies need to relieve the effects of the pandemic including through fiscal stimulus, income support and social protection.

A balanced sectoral policy dimension is needed to support sectors hardest-hit, as well as fast-growing ones to stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

In recovering and building a better, greener future of work, it is vital to address pre-crisis trends – from technological change, demographic changes, environmental and climate change to globalization, which have come to the fore during the COVID-19 for instance through increased digitalization.

ILO’s 187 member States including the Philippines adopted the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, which outlines a human-centred approach based on social justice.

The COVID-19 pandemic has a human face and, certainly calls for a human-centred response by investing in people’s capabilities, decent and sustainable work, and institutions of work.

The ILO is committed to support the NERS together with the government, employers’ and workers’ organizations in line with the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines.

The United Nations will also contribute through the Socio-economic and Peace Framework, which focuses on people, prosperity and planet, and peace, and recognizes the need for job-rich recovery, social dialogue, and business continuity.

No country, region or sector can recover alone. Solidarity is key to our common survival and prosperity, within borders and across borders.

The first of May as Labour Day is an opportune time to remind everyone that we are in this together to build a better future through decent work.

We will continue to collaborate through the NERS for a sustainable and human-centered recovery, with justice and dignity for all.

Thank you and Mabuhay (long live)!