ILO conducts labour rights orientation-seminar for Philippine Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) officials, staff and locators

The Freedom of Association (FOA) Orientation for PEZA economic zone managers, staff and locators is part of ILO Country Office for the Philippine's (ILO CO-Manila) Trade for Decent Work Project. This project is supported by the ILO's RBSA donors from the governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The ILO-EU Trade for Decent Work Project in partnership with the PEZA, organized a virtual Orientation on FOA based on social dialogue for ecozone managers, staff and locators last 26 April 2021.

The orientation was formally opened by Mr Khalid Hassan, Director of ILO CO-Manila, who underscored the need for improving compliance in economic zones.

Mr Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, Manager of PEZA's Promotions and Public Relations Group, stated on behalf of Director General BGen Charito Plaza, that PEZA shares with the ILO its vision of upholding workers' rights in economic zones and of building back better together from the pandemic. 

The International Labour Standards and Labour Law Specialist, ILO Decent Work Team - Bangkok, Mr Jajoon Coue, cited the ILO supervisory bodies on the Philippine application of the principles of FOA and the right to organize, and collecgive bargaining of the ILO supervisory mechanisms and how they can be applied in Philippine ecozone settings.

Mr Arun Kumar, Collective Bargaining and Social Dialogue Specialist, ILO DWT-Bangkok, also highlighted the ILO tripartite and bipartite compliance and workplace cooperation programs and mechanisms: promoting social dialogue in ecozones.

This was then followed by a presentation from Ms Sylvia Valdez of the Department of Labor and Employment - Bureau of Working Conditions (DOLE-BWC), on behalf of DOLE Assistant Secretary Teresita Cucueco. She discussed the current compliance gaps in ecozones and ways on how they can be addressed by strengthening DOLE and PEZA coordination on industrial relations and social dialogue in ecozones towards promoting decent work, global competitiveness and labour productivity.

Meanwhile, Director Angelo Salvador Benedictos of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Bureau of International Trade Relations underscored the relevance of  EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+) to Philippine ecozones by highlighting the links between compliance and international trade competitiveness and export market expansion. 

An open forum followed each of the presentation, which allowed ILO Regional Specialists and resource experts to engage with PEZA ecozone managers, staff and locators, and discuss ways forward. 

These included deepening understanding and appreciation of international labour standards, FOA principles and ILO core conventions via more labour education trainings for new ecozone managers, learning from the best practices around the world on improving compliance and promoting social dialogue through ILO programmes, strengthening tripartite mechanisms in ecozones, and the conduct of capacity-building workshops towards the drafting and adoption of tripartite strategic compliance plans, among others.

About 40 participants from PEZA, including some ecozone locators, attended and participated in the orientation. 


For further information, please contact:

Mr Bryan Balco
National Project Manager, ILO-EU Trade for Decent Work Project
ILO Country Office for the Philippines (ILO CO-Manila)