►By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines
6 May 2021, Manila, Philippines via Zoom
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Noel Felongco
Representative Raymond Democrito Mendoza
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition Chairperson Atty Sonny Matula
DOLE Undersecretary Ana Dione
Director Karen Trayvilla and officials of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns
Our workers who we celebrate today – Workers in the Informal Sector
Ladies and gentlemen
Magandang umaga po.
Today we commemorate Labour Day for the Workers in the Informal Sector. We acknowledge the significance and valuable contribution of all the workers in the informal sector, and the challenges they face, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 2 billion of the world’s employed population aged 15 years and over make their living in the informal economy; more than 740 million of them are women.1 While they are great in number, workers in the informal tend to be paid or earn less, have higher exposure to occupational health and safety risks, have no guaranteed access to medical care and no income security compared to their formal sector counterparts.
Many women and men in the informal economy rely on their income earned from their livelihood activities to feed themselves and their families. Most of them have no income replacement or savings, hence they are vulnerable to shocks such as the impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not working and staying home means losing their livelihoods, their means to provide food for their families.
The ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work outlines strategies for a human-centred approach. It is crucial to invest in people’s capabilities, in decent and sustainable work and in the institutions of work towards a lasting, sustainable and inclusive recovery.
In the recently held Jobs Summit, we are pleased that the National Employment Recovery Strategy and its Action Plan are strategically anchored on the ILO’s four areas for policy action to:
stimulate the economy and employment,
support enterprises, jobs and incomes,
protect workers in the workplace, and
rely on social dialogue to find solutions.
Without inclusive and gender-responsive policy interventions, the recovery will continue to be uneven and subject to great uncertainties. The policy focus therefore needs to be on a recovery that is robust and broad-based, addressing employment, income, workers’ rights and social dialogue.
For the informal economy, immediate steps toward recovery of the informal economy from the pandemic cannot separate health and economic impact, and must follow a multi-track strategy that combines the following lines of action:2
Strengthen health systems to ensure access and financial protection to all
Ensure adequate social protection for workers in all forms of employment, adapted to their circumstances and in line with international labour standards
Support the recovery of the informal economy in stepping up their productivity and facilitating their transition to formality to enhance formal job opportunities.
All these points require cooperation and constant dialogue among stakeholders, especially with the workers in the informal economy themselves. And today’s celebration hopefully provides another platform that will give voice to your sector and contribute to the country’s overall economic strategy.
I wish you all a productive and successful webinar, as we all work together toward a human-centred economic recovery, and a safer and better future of work!
Maraming salamat po!