Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has vowed to push for the improvement of migrant workers’ employment contracts during the first meeting of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Government Sector in Switzerland this month.
“We will agenda the item on improving the employment contracts of all migrant workers in order to provide them sufficient security, safety, and proper treatment,” Bello said in a virtual briefing on Thursday, Oct. 14.
“We will ensure that the provisions in the contracts will protect the interest of all overseas workers, see to it that they have a rightful claim to their salaries, to their benefits, including the security of tenure and proper treatment,” he added.
The meeting, to be held in the Central European country on Oct. 27, will be presided by Bello as representative of the Philippines.
Bello is currently the chairman of the ILO government group, -an “achievement” he called “historic” as the Philippines is the first non-regular member country of the organization to take such role.
“This is the first time in the existence of ILO na mayroong representative na uupo bilang chairman ng ILO government sector from an Asian country and a non-voting country pa (This is the first time in the existence of ILO that the representative to sit as chairman of the government sector is from an Asian country and also a non-voting country),” Bello explained.
The labor chief added that he will also push to democratize the ILO process by extending the voting authority to all member countries of the government sector.
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.
The Philippines has assumed chairmanship of the ILO Government Group last July and was tasked to 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.