Opening address at the webinar on Socially responsible labour practices and related policies to support business in times of COVID-19 crisis and recovery

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the webinar on Socially responsible labour practices and related policies to support business in times of COVID-19 crisis and recovery, 16 March 2021, Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines via Zoom | 16 March 2021
  • Our partners from the EU Delegation led by Trade Counsellor Mr Cellini,
  • ECOP Director-General Moya along with business leaders and key officials from employers organizations,
  • Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good day!
A warm welcome and thank you for joining this webinar. I appreciate much your support on this dialogue about the state of corporate social responsibility and sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are indeed grateful to Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and the European Union for another collaboration through this important dialogue.

It has been a year since COVID-19. The pandemic has affected and continues to disrupt the world of work. The health and total wellbeing of the majority of the Filipino population remain to be threatened, along with economic and social impact of the pandemic leading to massive damage to jobs and livelihoods.

The ILO has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work since March last year. The 7th edition of our COVID Monitor looks back at the whole of 2020.

It also includes the latest data we have on the effects of the pandemic on workers and businesses. This includes working hour losses, income losses, unemployment, and inactivity.

We see tentative signs of recovery. These are fragile, uncertain and uneven. But, with the right policies and actions, we can build on them, supported by human-centred recovery policies

To address the situation, the ILO reiterates its call for urgent and significant policy responses to protect both enterprises, and workers.

We need large -scale, integrated, policy measures focusing on the following 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 between government, workers and employers to find solutions.

I am aware that several actions within these four pillars have been undertaken by the Philippine government, different employers and other stakeholders within the period after the onset of the pandemic.

In particular, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at the start of the pandemic issued interim guidelines that prescribe minimum health protocols and standards to allow private institutions and businesses to operate during the lockdown period.

Supplementary guidelines has been issued by both government departments last November 2020 to further strengthen workplace prevention and control of COVID-19.

With the employers’ group, a lot of initiatives have been taken to support the government and their workers within the supply chains. This group can contribute a lot more.

In recent times, many companies are responding to the call to do more meaningful interventions that could contribute to providing more sustainable solutions through their own operations and/or products. As to the pandemic, government measures introduced for safe workplace and control will not be effective without the full support of the business sector.

In all of the above measures to address the pandemic, the process of social dialogue is very important. DOLE Secretary Bello has emphasized that consultation and tripartite collaboration are very essential in these challenging times

I hope that through this webinar, businesses will be  better informed  and equipped with  helpful tools and guidance. More importantly, learn and emulate these good practices or business models to help them and their workers overcome the challenges of COVID-19  on their way to recovery.

We at ILO look forward to stronger collaboration and dialogue towards an effective and sustainable recovery. We should see this as an opportunity to learn lessons and adjust priorities - better social protection, International Labour Standards as foundations of working conditions, as well as effective social dialogue.

We must do this together towards a lasting, sustainable and inclusive recovery.

Thank you and again, welcome to this webinar!