Message at the Labor Day for workers in the informal economy

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Labor Day for workers in the informal economy, 23 May 2023, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 23 May 2023
  • Secretary Laguesma and Department and Labor and Employment officials;
  • Secretary Santos and National Anti-Poverty Commission officials;
  • Manila Mayor Lacuña;
  • NAPC Sectoral Representative Funtanares;
  • Distinguished representatives from the informal economy and other stakeholders;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
It is a pleasure to convey our message today.

I am grateful for this opportunity to celebrate with you the Labour Day for workers in the informal economy.

More than half of the global labour force and over 90 per cent of micro and small enterprises are in the informal economy.

It represents a substantial portion of the economy and labour market and plays a crucial role in production, employment creation and income generation.

However, informality increases workers vulnerability and precarity. Informality impacts adequate wages, occupational safety and health, and working conditions in general.

According to the Labour Force Survey, over 38 per cent of those employed in the Philippines are in vulnerable employment.

Nearly two out of five workers lack formal work arrangements and social protection, which makes them more at risk during a crisis or shock.

The ILO recognizes that most people enter the informal economy not by choice, but out of necessity with limited employment and livelihood opportunities.

This is why we support member States to implement the ILO's Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204).

Recommendation 204 provides guidance to pursue a threefold objective for the informal sector:
  1. Facilitate the transition of workers from the informal to formal economy, while respecting their fundamental rights and ensuring opportunities for income security, livelihoods, and entrepreneurship.
  2. Promote the creation, preservation, and sustainability of enterprises and decent jobs in the formal economy, and the coherence of macroeconomic, employment, social protection and other policies; and
  3. Prevent the informalization of formal economy jobs.
ILO lauds the approval of the new Social Protection Floor, which institutionalizes programmes that support the most vulnerable Filipinos throughout the entire life cycle.

We are looking forward to the implementation of the new Social Protection Floor which is now one of the priorities of the soon to be adopted Social Protection Plan as well as in the Labor and Employment Plan.

Support to workers in the informal economy is part of the ILO Director-General’s call to forge a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which brings together all tripartite partners – government, workers and employers.

This is within a shared goal to protect people and support the achievement of social and economic progress, with particular attention to the most vulnerable and marginalized, to have the maximum positive impact on human dignity.

With this in mind, the ILO looks forward to continuing the work with our partners in the informal economy for a human-centred future of work where no one is left behind.

Mabuhay! Maraming salamat po. (Long live! Thank you very much).