Opening address at the Responsible labour practices to achieve inclusive and sustainable business in the rural sectors in mining

By Ms Cerilyn Pastolero, Project Manager of the ILO Project on Improving Workers' Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women at the Responsible labour practices to achieve inclusive and sustainable business in the rural sectors in mining, 1 March 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 01 March 2022
Warm greetings to everyone and welcome to this webinar!
  • Greetings to our government partners from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas;
  • Mr Federico R. Marquez, Mr. Jose Roland Moya and officials of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP);
  • Partners from sectoral employers’ organizations and businesses in the mining industry;
  • Colleagues, participants, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
I am honoured to be taking part in this activity and see employers from the mining industry attend this webinar on Responsible Labour Practices to achieve Inclusive and Sustainable Business in the Mining Sector.

This webinar is jointly organized by the ILO and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) under the project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women.

The Project aims to improve promotion and compliance to labour standards, occupational safety and health (OSH), and gender equality in rural sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining.

We thank the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) for its support and in making this webinar possible.

This webinar aims to raise awareness of the benefits and importance of labour standards compliance to businesses in the mining sector, and provide a platform for dialogue between government and businesses on issuances and developments relevant to labour standards, OSH and gender equality, and its application.

The Philippines is one of the leading producers in the world of mineral commodities, such as gold, nickel, and copper1, the industry contributed over 102 billion Pesos to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020.2

Millions of men and women, globally and locally, are dependent on the industry for jobs, including those generated in the downstream and upstream sectors.

Women contribute significantly to the mineral extraction and processing, from crushing, grinding, washing and panning, hand sorting ore, and in administrative functions.

Although their work is as hazardous and precarious as that of men, it is usually less valued, and women are generally less protected.

The mining industry has a huge potential to contribute to the country’s economic growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the industry must address the challenges and issues concerning compliance to labour standards compliance, occupational safety and health and gender equality.

Globally, there is also growing consumer demand for ethically produced goods and services, as we see more trade policies and agreements linking compliance with labour standards with market access. This leads to the demand for responsible business practices and due diligence on labour standards within the supply or value chains of export-driven industries such as mining.

Social dialogue contributes to business sustainability when government, employers, and workers jointly address compliance gaps.

Continued engagement among social partners to discuss issues of common interest and identify key strategies is critical in improving working conditions at the enterprise, community and industry levels.

The Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187) and the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176) can serve as good entry point and guidance in pursuing social dialogue on OSH in mining.

Through this webinar, we hope to learn more about good practices and strategies, and experiences on how social dialogue help ensure and sustain compliance to labour standards within the industry.

Compliance to labour standards is good for businesses, contrary to the belief that it is costly. It helps increase productivity and sustainability of enterprises, promote and protect workers’ rights and aligns with the policies and measures that promote decent work and economic development.

Your participation today is a step closer towards making your businesses stronger, inclusive and sustainable, and improve the lives and working conditions of the rural workers in the mining sector, leaving no one behind.

I wish you all a productive and successful webinar. May the results of this engagement lead us closer towards making decent work a reality in the rural sector!

Maraming salamat po
(Thank you very much)!


1 The Philippine Mineral Industry at A Glance, MGB, August 2021
2 Department of Environment and Natural Resources