Opening address at the launch of the ILO USDOL project on Improving workers’ rights in the rural sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on women

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the launch of the ILO USDOL project on Improving workers’ rights in the rural sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on women, 11 August 2021, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 11 August 2021
  • Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment,
  • Mr Mark Moody, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in the Philippines,
  • Mr Gustavo González, UN Resident Coordinator,
  • Employers organizations led by Mr Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., President of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP),
  • Brothers and sisters from workers organizations and trade unions, including from rural and informal sectors,
  • Government officials and partner agencies,
  • Colleagues from the UN and development partners,
  • Distinguished guests, journalists, colleagues,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga (good morning)!
A warm welcome to all of you as we launch this new project.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is grateful to you for your presence and participation.

Today, we officially launch this project on “Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women”.

With funding from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), the project aims to promote and strengthen compliance. Specifically on international labour standards and labour laws, occupational safety and health (OSH), and gender equality in rural sectors in the Philippines and Indonesia.

It is part of the ILO’s Safety + Health for All Flagship Programme to promote and improve safety and health globally.

With a focus on rural workers and women, who are among the vulnerable, the project supports a human-centred recovery from COVID-19. This is in line with the Global Call to Action to promote decent work, safer and healthier workplaces, and equal opportunities in rural sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining, with women as focus.

Women continue to face greater risks, decent work deficits, and inequalities, exacerbated by the pandemic.

This project also contributes to the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines, the Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework by the UN, and the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) by the Philippine government developed through social dialogue with workers, employers and partners.

This Project builds on gains and lessons learned from of previous ILO projects supported by USDOL.

Some of these projects include the Building the Capacity of the Philippine Labour Inspectorate, the SafeYouth@Work Project on OSH, and the CARING Gold Project to address child labour and working conditions in the mining sector.

The rural economy plays a vital role in creating equal opportunities for decent work, sustainable food systems, improved environmental management, export and trade competitiveness, and economic growth in the country.

Women hold significant contributions in the supply and value chains of these sectors.

We are grateful to each of you, especially to the US Department of Labor for making this new project possible.

Your support is indeed crucial for the successful implementation of this project.

Through collective action and commitment, we can make significant changes in the lives of the men and women workers in the rural sectors.

Hand in hand, we can forge a strong and unified front - making decent work a reality in rural sectors, and ensuring a human-centred recovery that leaves no one behind.

Thank you and Mabuhay!