Enterprise formalization

Message of Support from the Department of Labor and Employment at the South-South Expert Knowledge Sharing Forum on Policy Innovations and Lessons Learned on Enterprise Formalization

By Secretary Silvestre H. Belo III, Department of Labor and Employment, delivered by Director Ma Karina Perida-Trayvilla, Bureau of Workers with Special Concern (BWSC) at the South-South Expert Knowledge Sharing Forum on Policy Innovations and Lessons Learned on Enterprise Formalization, Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2018

Meeting document | Manila, Philippines | 16 July 2018
Mr Khalid Hassan, ILO Country Director, experts from the ILO, global experts from the South and India, the Honorable Liza Maza, our beloved Secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya of the Department of Trade and Industry, distinguished participants, colleagues, friends, a wonderful day to all!

Our Labor Secretary Silvestre H Bello III sincerely regrets his absence. Please allow me to read his message to this assembly.

I wish to commend ILO for this initiative on the “South-South Expert Knowledge Sharing Forum on Policy Innovations and Lessons Learned on Enterprise Formalization to Achieve Decent Work in the Philippines Peer-to-Peer Learning.” This brings together the country’s experts from various government agencies, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and of course our partners from labor and employers.

We, at the Department of Labor and Employment, are grateful to ILO for extending assistance to the Philippines in promoting decent work. This we do through enterprise formalization, and capacitating policymakers and informal economy leaders to come up with a good policy mix to facilitate the transition from informal to the formal economy.

We welcome and support this initiative as informal employment is an important dimension of the Philippine labor market. Based on the 2017 Annual Labor Force Survey, 37.5 percent or around 15.125 million of the country’s labor force were employed in own-family operated farm or business, self-employed and unpaid family workers, the bulk of whom are found in agriculture (25 per cent) and services (57 per cent) .

It is for this reason that four (4) items out of eight (8) points of our labor and employment agenda for 2017-2022 are dedicated to address the issues and concerns of informal economy. These are:

a. Agenda 2: Address the persistent problems of unemployment and underemployment;

b. Agenda 5: Bring more focus and accessibility to workers’ protection and welfare programs;

c. Agenda 6: Achieve a sound, dynamic, and stable industrial peace with free and democratic participation of workers and employers in policy and decision-making process affecting them; and

d. Agenda 8: Have responsive, enabling, and equitable labor policies, laws, and regulations.

Thus, the following initiatives to address the needs of our workers in the informal economy are being undertaken:

On Employment -- In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, we launched the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) to transform livelihood into competitive, resilient, and sustainable enterprises. This is being done by encouraging the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the full implementation of the Go Negosyo Law, the MSME Development Plan, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 205 Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs.

Further, our Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) continue to implement the DOLE Kabuhayan Program which provides capacity building facility on livelihood and entrepreneurial ventures for vulnerable and marginalized workers. The program allows for 1) an enabling environment for our informal workers to start individual or group livelihood undertakings (Kabuhayan Formation); 2) sustainable businesses that provide mandated salary and emoluments (Kabuhayan Enhancement); and 3) re-establishment of lost or damaged livelihoods due to natural disasters/calamities (Kabuhayan Restoration).

As a strategic approach towards effective and efficient implementation of our livelihood program, the BWSC developed a sustainable livelihood framework which lays down the indicators and the needed interventions that will propel these projects towards formal and sustainable enterprises.

On Labor Relations -- Our Bureau of Labor Relations is on top of ensuring representation of the informal and women sectors in the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (RTIPCs). This mechanism guarantees the participation of workers in the informal economy in policy and decision-making and tripartite social-dialogue.

On Social Protection -- Our Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) offers free OSH courses to help promote the safety and protection of informal sector workers. OSH has embarked on intensifying workforce-focused programs in the informal economy in local development plans, and in ensuring that these programs are gender-responsive.

A lot has yet to be done. We at the Labor Department are glad that we can openly discuss the issues and concerns facing the informal economy in this three-day forum. It is our hope that the experts from the Global South can share with us their respective country’s good practices. We intend to learn more in addressing the issues on informal economy particularly on transitioning to the formal economy.

On personal note, I am extending my gratitude to Khalid and Sir Hideki for bringing into the Philippines the global experts from the South. We at the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns for the Informal Economy Development is lodged, we are truly excited to hear them speak and learn from their good practices. This insights will serve as policy inputs for the refinement for the sustainable livelihood framework that we are working on. I also thank DTI and NAPC for serving as our partners in making this endeavour a possibility.

Maraming, maraming salamat po!

Thank you!