Message at the launch of the ILO Japan Bringing Back Jobs Safely under the COVID-19 Crisis in the Philippines: Rebooting Small and Informal Businesses Safely and Digitally

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the launch of the ILO Japan Bringing Back Jobs Safely under the COVID-19 Crisis in the Philippines: Rebooting Small and Informal Businesses Safely and Digitally, 15 July 2021, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 15 July 2021
  • Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
  • Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),
  • Secretary Gregorio Honasan II of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT),
  • Secretary Noel Felongco of the National Anti-Poverty Commission represented by Executive Head Assistant Mr Eduardo Tonogbanua,
  • His Excellency Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines,
  • Employers and workers representatives led by Mr Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., President of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and Sister Joanna Bernice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary-General of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO),
  • Government officials and partners,
  • Safety and health advocates,
  • MSME development supporters,
  • Distinguished guests, journalists, colleagues,
  • Ladies and gentlemen,
A warm welcome to all of you as we launch this new initiative.

The International Labour Organization is grateful to co-organize with the Embassy of Japan today, the launch of the project – “Bringing Back Jobs Safely under the COVID-19 Crisis in the Philippines: Rebooting Small and Informal Businesses Safely and Digitally”.

The project is part of the Safety + Health for All Flagship Programme. The Government of Japan is one of our key partners for the Programme. ILO also collaborate with Japan to support emergency responses and address COVID-19 challenges in four countries globally. I am glad that the Philippines is among the four countries selected.

Enterprises and workers in hard-hit sectors are struggling. Some are barely surviving while others have stopped operations. Urgent measures are critical to support them in dealing with the impact of COVID-19, and to build back better and safer. We need to help people access safe and decent jobs in their own town.

The new project is part of the COVID-19 response and recovery in the country. It will tap ILO’s expertise on occupational safety and health (OSH) and development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The project will contribute to improving safety and health of workers in MSMEs through digitalization and OSH training with COVID-19 prevention measures. It will pay attention to enterprises outside Metro Manila where the risk remains high, and digitalization remains low.

This project will further support the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines, the Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework, and the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS). The NERS, anchored on the ILO’s COVID-19 policy areas, serves as the national employment and labour market recovery agenda.

Recently, 181 member States of the ILO, including the Philippines adopted a Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery. It puts creating decent jobs and addressing inequalities as priority.

Strengthening OSH and promoting support for business continuity and an enabling environment for innovation, productivity growth and sustainable enterprises including MSMEs are among the measures. It also recommends leveraging on opportunities of a just digital transition to advance decent work. The new project will precisely address these points through the training on OSH and digital entrepreneurship.

It will take time to get out of this crisis thus the need to work together. Increased cooperation indeed at the national and multilateral level is essential for a human-centred recovery. We need to strengthen our partnership more than ever to support millions of MSME entrepreneurs and their workers.

We count on the support of the government, workers, employers and enterprises, and key partners, including the United Nations, development partners, safety and health advocates, MSME development supporters, and all of you who are here with us. Your contribution matters to ensure the success of this new project.

Thank you and Mabuhay (long live)!