Message at the signing of a new Grant Agreement between the ILO and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)

By Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the signing of a new Grant Agreement between the ILO and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Pasig City, Philippines, 2 February 2015

Statement | Pasig City, Philippines | 01 February 2015
  • Mr Padilla, President and CEO of PhilHealth,
  • Partners and officials of PhilHealth,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon sa inyong lahat! [Good afternoon to you all]
First of all, congratulations to PhilHealth on your 20th anniversary! Your theme, “Ensuring universal coverage for all Filipinos” is very relevant and this supports the ILO’s recommendation on social protection floors.

Social protection is a key pillar in promoting the ILO’s goal of decent and productive work for all.

Ensuring social protection and universal coverage is not just a matter of labour right, but also a human right.

Today’s signing of the new grant agreement between the ILO and PhilHealth is a way to reach out to the most vulnerable in our communities.

Guaranteeing social protection, which include PhilHealth coverage, prevents people from falling into poverty especially in times of illness and emergency. Expanding people's access to social protection is both a way to advance human rights and a sound economic policy. Thereby, supporting the Philippines’ goal of inclusive and sustained growth.

Social protection is a vital element in building back better, but often overlooked in disaster response.

Emergency employment programmes guarantee minimum wage; extend social security, health and accident insurance coverage; and ensure safety at work through the presence of on-site medical support and provision of personal protective equipment, such as mask, hat, gloves, boots and protective clothing.We know that reaching out and bringing vulnerable workers into the social protection mechanism can transform communities and create real sustainable change.

This process cannot take place without the support and collaboration of PhilHealth.

Today’s signing ceremony, is an opportunity to continue our long partnership and in signing this agreement we are extending coverage to thousands more vulnerable workers affected by super typhoon Haiyan.

In our role as co-chair of the livelihood cluster with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and now the advisory role with the Department of Trade and Industry, the ILO with its sister UN agencies and partners help make social protection a reality for all.

Our partnership with PhilHealth is a model that can be adopted by other organizations thus promoting the decent work approach.

By partnering with PhilHealth we have to date enrolled almost 10,000 and reached out to about 50,000 workers and their families.

Let me further commend PhilHealth for the initiative to advance the enrolment of 4,500 vulnerable workers over and above the original agreement.

We will continue to ensure social protection through PhilHealth coverage and look forward to a strong partnership.

We also look forward to the Project Assessment of PhilHealth, planned in March, which aims to enhance service delivery and ensureuniversal coverage.

We greatly appreciate all the hard work of everyone at PhilHealth, both in headquarters and in the regional offices. What has been done here has been recognized and valued not just in the Philippines but also globally.

Thank you and Mabuhay!