COVID-19 and Labour Market Impact

Opening address at the Government consultation on the COVID-19 labour market impact in the Philippines: Assessment and policy responses

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Government consultation on the COVID-19 labour market impact in the Philippines: Assessment and policy responses, 14 August 2020, Manila, Philippines via WebEx

Statement | Manila, Philippines via WebEx | 14 August 2020
  • Minister Sema of MOLE BARMM;
  • Ms Ignacio of SSS;
  • Assistant Secretary Tutay and Cucueco of DOLE;
  • Assistant Governor Sicat of BSP;
  • Dr Reyes of PIDS;
  • Distinguished officials from government;
  • Colleagues from the Australian Embassy;
  • Colleagues from the ILO and our Decent Work Team in Bangkok - Felix, Phu and Arun;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Warm welcome and thank you for taking joining us. It is good to see you all virtually and hear your voices.

ILO’s latest analysis of the labour market impact of COVID-19 finds its impact on the world of work more severe than previously estimated.

These global estimates reflect the worsening situation in many regions, especially in developing economies. Looking forward, to the rest of the year, we see a recovery that is incomplete and highly uncertain.

The trajectory it follows will depend on the policy choices and coordinated responses to protect both enterprises and workers.

The pandemic has caused a socio-economic crisis of an unprecedented scope and reach, heavily affecting labour markets, economies and enterprises. Worldwide and in the Philippines, it has led to massive decline of earnings and working hours or complete job losses.

The ILO and its constituents – governments, workers and employers –play a crucial role through social dialogue to find solutions that will help revive the economy, ensure safety of individuals and sustainability of businesses and jobs.

Large-scale, integrated, policy measures are needed, focusing on four pillars: stimulating the economy and jobs; supporting enterprises, employment and incomes; protecting workers in the workplace including occupational safety and health; and, using social dialogue.

We acknowledge actions by the Philippine government, different employers, workers and other stakeholders within these four pillars.

ILO have been collecting this information available on the website, not only in the Philippines but also in other countries around the world. Quick support measures were implemented to ease the negative blow of the pandemic. The success of policy responses would also look at how quickly and effectively we protect informal and formal workers, as well as SMEs, particularly those that include women, youth and migrants. Decent job creation, robust health systems and universal social protection are central to an effective response to this pandemic and opportunities to build back better.

This COVID-19 labour market impact report of the ILO, jointly funded by the Australian Government, aims to examine the multidimensional impact on employment and the labour market. It provides an account of the evolution of COVID-19 in the Philippines and its economic impact in the first half of 2020.

Building on baseline labour market data prior to the onset of COVID-19 and labour force survey data from April 2020, the report provides insights into the preliminary employment and labour market effects and identifies sectors experiencing high impact on their economic output due to the crisis.

In the context of increasing calls for digitalization, the report further attempts to identify occupations and sectors facing a dual challenge of high impact due to COVID-19 job disruption and the disruptive effective of digitalization.

The assessment also aims to shed light on the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable population groups.

In today’s consultation, the ILO is interested to get your views and insights on what the “new or better normal” in the labour market would look like moving forward. We are also eager to learn about main policy and implementation challenges as well as explore policy actions and priorities towards decent and productive employment and skills development in the socio-economic recovery.

The ILO calls for a human-centred COVID-19 response and recovery in building a better normal. As the Director-General said “We need to redouble our efforts if we want to come out in a better shape than when it started. We must all step up to the challenge of building a better future of work.”

It is our hope that this initiative will inform the development of programmes and policies to better facilitate a recovery in the labour market that is sustainable and equitable.

Finally, I wish you all a productive and successful consultation, and continued collaboration towards a meaningful recovery with decent work for all as foundation. It is by working together that we can help each other and build a better future of work.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!