GENEVA — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz had said the creation of decent work opportunities is key to the attainment of inclusive growth in the Philippines.
Speaking at the World of Work Summit at the Palais des Nations, Baldoz said efforts of the Aquino government are geared towards putting decent work and productive employment at the front and center of the country’s growth and development strategies.
“We strive to achieve this through our strategic investment in human capital; by improving working conditions through regulatory and developmental incentive-based labor inspection system, expanding access to social protection mechanisms, and promoting social dialogue,” she said.
During the interactive dialogue with Summit participants, Baldoz bared that the Philippines, since 2010, has increased its investment in education and manpower development in keeping with the Constitutional provision on budget priorities.
“This is also very explicit in President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Platform and Policy Pronouncements on Labor and Employment, whose over-arching goal is “to invest in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice”‘, Baldoz said.
“In 2010, our budget for education and manpower development was set at P 235.2 billion (approx. US$ 5.4 billion). This year, this had increased to P 389.6 billion (US$ 9 billion), a 65.6 percent increase in a span of four years,” she stated.
In health, Baldoz said the Philippines had likewise invested huge financial resources to ensure universal access to health.
“Our health budget in 2010 was P 24.6 billion (US$ 572 million). In four years, this had increased by 243 percent to grew to P 84.2 billion (US$ 1.95 billion).”
To ensure social protection for the poor and the vulnerable, Baldoz said the government’s conditional cash transfer program, started in 2010 with a budget of P10.93 billion (US$ 254 million), has grown in the last four years by 473 percent to reach P 62.61 billion (US$ 1.456 billion) in 2014 covering six million households.
Baldoz said that as a result, the Philippines has started to reap the fruits of its strategic investment in human resource development in terms of availability of workers with skills sets that meet industry needs and readily absorbed by the market, thereby addressing the skills and jobs mismatch and long period of job search, as well as sustained economic growth. Citing UN population projections, she said that by 2015, the Philippines will be hitting the so-called “demographic sweet spot” that will last approximately for 35 years. According to the UN, countries in this condition will experience average annual growth rates of 7.3 percent over the next 10 years.
The World of Work Summit is a special plenary event of the ongoing 103rd International Labor Conference in Geneva. It was held on the theme, Developing with Jobs, and was keynoted by keynoted by Prof. Deepak Nayyar, professor of Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. ILO Director General Guy Ryder opened and closed the Summit, while BBC journalist Andrew Walker moderated it.
Baldoz was one of the Summit’s six high-level tripartite panelists who included Mexico’s Labor Minister Alfonso Navarret Prida; Tunisia’s Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Ammar Youmbai; Luxembourg’s Labor Minister Nicolas Schmit; Turkey’s Santa Farma Pharmaceutical chief executive officer Erol Kiresepi; and International Trade Union Confederation Secretary General Sharan Burrow.
In the Summit, Baldoz also highlighted the Philippine government’s efforts at promoting good labor governance. “Our system of labor administration is one that promotes transparency, accountability and participation through a robust and inclusive tripartism and social dialogue”, she said.