PH pushes to strengthen protection of displaced, vulnerable workers

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday, Oct. 28, pushed to strengthen the protection of displaced and vulnerable workers in the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Labor Ministers’ Meeting (ALMM) held in the country.

Department of Labor and Emoloyment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma (left) assumes the chairmanship of the ASEAN Labor Ministers’ Meeting (ALMM) for 2022-2024 from outgoing ALMM Chair H.E. Ida Fauziyah (right), Secretary General Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, during the opening ceremony of the 27th ALMM held on October 28, 2022 in Manila. The biennial event convenes labor ministers from the 10 ASEAN member-states to discuss labor and employment plans and programs in the ASEAN region. (Photo by DOLE)

Chaired by the Philippines, the labor meeting concluded with agreements on key priorities for regional cooperation to advance the welfare and well-being of workers across the ASEAN countries.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma said he met the ASEAN labor executives to push higher investments in human resource development and workforce competitiveness while ensuring better work conditions for the labor force.

“As the digitalization of enterprises brings new work processes and structures, ASEAN countries agreed to closely work together for improvements in ICT policies, infrastructures, and systems,” said Laguesma.

Affirming commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth in ASEAN, the member states supported the Philippines’ two-year agenda which deals with the modernization of the agriculture sector to create new employment opportunities, ensure food security, and protect workers’ income from rising food prices.

“Focusing on agriculture will not only help us address hunger but also expand employment and lift many out of poverty,” Laguesma added.

The Philippines also called for skills development through technical vocational education and training (TVET) systems that promote innovation through information and communication technology (ICT), digitalization, and social equity, emphasizing skills upgrading in micro and small enterprises and for lower-skilled workers and rural communities.

To achieve this goal, Laguesma emphasized the need to establish common skills standards and mutual skills recognition; efficient and integrated labor market information and portable social protection; and the reorientation of TVET to meet the rapidly changing skills requirements of industries.

The labor chief said the ASEAN labor ministers agreed on the strengthening of TVET to facilitate the movement and employability of workers in the region.