PH takes over chairmanship of ILO Government Group; here's why it's a big deal

Published July 4, 2021, 2:58 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Philippines has assumed chairmanship of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Government Group, making it the first non-regular member country of the ILO to take such role.

(Mark Balmores/ MANILA BULLETIN)

This was bared by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sunday, July 4, calling the Philippines’ achievement “historic”.

“This marks a significant shift in the policy-making global tripartite body that has been traditionally led by big, powerful member-countries,” DOLE said.

The ILO is a United Nations (UN) agency mandated to advance social and economic justice through setting international labor standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialized agency of the UN.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III (File photo/ Screengrab from Zoom meeting)

In a report to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Geneva said the Philippines formally took over the post last week after completing its vice chairmanship tenure.

As head of the body representing governments, the Philippines will play a leading role in the Governing Body of the ILO which convenes every March, June, and November, Labor Attaché to Geneva Cheryl Datec said in her report.

With the mandate, Bello will preside over the Government Body Sessions and the International Labour Conference (ILC) Government Group meetings.

The labor chief congratulated the Philippine Permanent Mission to the UN and the POLO in Geneva for having relentlessly pursued the country’s long quest for the coveted seat.

“With the chairmanship of the government group, the Philippines will be in a key position in the setting of global labor standards. We will also exercise pivotal role in helping the ILO achieve full, equal, and more democratic participation of its small, non-regular members in setting policies and programs,” Bello said.

The Philippines, as Government Group chair, will serve as the primary communication channel between the Office and the Group, directly or in parallel to Regional Coordinators, and as required with the Employer and Worker Groups.

It is also responsible for convening and chairing the Group meetings during and outside ILO official meetings and facilitating negotiation for a common position, thus contributing to reaching consensus.