Message at the consultation on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Labour Market Study

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the consultation on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Labour Market Study, 31 May 2021, Manila and Cotabato, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila and Cotabato City, Philippines via Zoom | 31 May 2021
  • MOLE Minister Romeo Sema;
  • MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob;
  • TESDA DG Ruby Andong;
  • MTIT DG Rosslaini Sinarimbo;
  • Mr Boboy Valerio of ECOP;
  • Brother Herbert Demos of SENTRO
  • Ms Julhaina Cadon of BDA;
  • Representatives of government, employers and businesses, trade unions and workers organizations, civil society;
  • Partners from Embassies and UN agencies;
  • Distinguished guests;
  • Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh!

Warm welcome! Thank you for joining us today as we present initial findings of the DFAT-ILO research on promoting productive employment and skills development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

For the past few months, the ILO with the support of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines has been conducting this research to assess the economy, labour market and skills development situation in BARMM.

We are indeed grateful to you for your presence and participation. Your insights, voices and experiences are crucial to help us inform and gather recommendations, plans of action and next steps. All these will contribute towards advancing social justice and promoting decent work in BARMM and the Philippines.

A focus on full, productive, freely-chosen and sustainable employment opportunities for all is essential to promote decent work and achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development given the high proportion of vulnerable employment, poverty, and low real income even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has worsen decent work deficits and resulted in massive disruption of the economy and labour market in the Philippines.
The pandemic affected vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, informal workers and migrant workers disproportionately.

Amid economic uncertainties for businesses, the COVID-19 crisis further risks labour market gains and prospects of workers. Establishments in the Philippines were reported to have been affected by temporary business closures with job displacement affecting thousands of workers nationwide.

Businesses and workers in hard-hit sectors are struggling. In areas experiencing fragility, protracted conflict, climate change and forced displacement, risks are higher as people in these areas face multiple burdens.

As the COVID-19 crisis lengthens and continues to impact on labour markets, countries have the potential to think big in efforts to revitalize and recover towards sustainable growth objectives and push forth a human-centred recovery, with justice and equity. A recovery that is sustainable and inclusive of all.

The ILO brings together governments, employers and workers to drive a human-centred approach to the future of work through employment creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.

Even before the crisis, these are crucial building blocks to build back better and greener not only to tackle underlying issues of poverty and inequality but as an essential element to support economic recovery.

It is in this context that the ILO supports the Bangsamoro region for a human-centred recovery through decent work.

The preliminary research aims to inform government, employers’ and workers’ organizations in BARMM and in the Philippines in the development of skills and labour market interventions for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full employment and decent work for women and men.

The research also ultimately aims to contribute to the regional development, including its focus on a responsive and transformative Bangsamoro education system and sustaining economic growth in BARMM.

With the support of the Australian Department of Foreign and Trade (DFAT) through the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, the ILO in partnership with BARMM government, workers’ and employers’ organizations will conduct further sector-specific studies to inform the planning of employment and skills initiatives in BARMM.

The ILO also aims to further support the Bangsamoro region through the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines in line with national and regional development plans, including the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the Bangsamoro Development Plan.

It is our hope that this initiative will inform the development of programmes and policies to better facilitate a recovery in the BARMM labour market. A recovery that is human-centred, sustainable and equitable.

Finally, I wish you all a productive and successful consultation, and continued collaboration towards implementing recovery strategies necessary to create a more inclusive, fair, sustainable Bangsamoro region.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!

Wassalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

May peace be upon us all!