Message of support at the National Consultative Dialogue of the Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia (SEA) Programme

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the National Consultative Dialogue of the Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia (SEA) Programme, 5 August 2021, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 05 August 2021
  • Distinguished officials from the government,
  • Representatives from the EU Delegation to the Philippines,
  • Our partners from the government, workers and employers organizations,
  • Representatives of the civil society, recruitment agencies, media and project partners,
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat! [Good morning to all of you]
The Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia (SEA) Programme is a multi-country, multi-annual initiative of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). It aims to promote regular and safe labour migration and decent work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors in Southeast Asia.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) implements the programme in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

We recognize the importance of social dialogue and active engagement of partners. Thus, we convene this National Consultative Dialogue to identify current challenges and priorities in relation to the protection of fishers and seafood processing workers.

We greatly appreciate your presence and participation. Today’s dialogue focuses on wide consultation and serves as a platform to exchange views from national stakeholders, including workers, employers, government authorities, private sector, buyers, non-government organizations, civil society, researchers, and development partners.

Early this year, we launched this programme in the region, as part of our support to fishing sectors in Southeast Asia.

The ILO has been working in and supporting the fishing, including seafood processing sectors, in the last eight years, in response to the growing migration phenomenon in this sector.

An ILO publication in 2019 on the future of work and migration cited over 9.7 million international migrants in Southeast Asia. Nearly 6.9 million migrated within the region.

Looking at UNDESA data in 2016, the number of intra-ASEAN migrants have doubled from 3.2 million in 1990. Those migrants in Southeast Asia tend to be absorbed in labour-intensive industries including in fishing sectors, recognized as a pivotal sector of economic and social interest for most countries, together with the seafood processing industry.

It is good to learn that protection of workers in fishing vessels is a priority of the Philippine Government, through the issuance of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Order 156 and its ensuing orders.

DOLE further declares to support “the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investment and to expansion and growth, while it promotes the right of labour to its just share in the fruits of production.”

The ILO has been strategic in our overall support to the fishing sector, the tuna and sardines industry, with other projects such as the USDOL Improving workers’ rights in the rural sectors with a focus on women, and the EU-supported project on Responsible Supply Chains Asia.

The ILO also implements a portfolio of labour migration projects such as the FAIR Recruitment project, the Safe and Fair programme, and the joint BRIDGE project.

This programme supports the National Employment Recovery Strategy and the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines for a human-centred recovery that leaves no one behind.

We convene our constituents and social partners, and we count on your support. This dialogue is an initial step to strengthen and reinforce our collaboration.

The Programme, within its mandate and scope will further support your organizations and agencies’ work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors.

By working together, we can help achieve safe migration and decent work for Filipino migrant fishers and seafood processing workers.

Thank you very much! Please stay safe.