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DOLE pushes for social protection floor to provide minimum protection for informal sector workers

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(DOLE logo)

(DOLE logo)

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the Department of Labor and Employment is converging with other government agencies in pushing for the establishment of a Social Protection Floor (SPF), which will provide minimum protection for informal sector workers including the underemployed, self-employed, and unpaid family workers in five identified priority occupational groups.

“Social protection is integral to achieving a better and improved quality of life for the workers in the informal sectors by equalizing access to development opportunities and by reducing vulnerabilities of these workers and their families against risks, particularly in times of crisis, that can push them down to poverty,” said Baldoz.

She added that the establishment of a social protection floor, which provides a set of guarantees, either universal or targeted and contributory or non-contributory, is essential to building minimum protection for informal sector workers and their families.

Baldoz explained that the Department is planning to conduct a Strategic Planning Workshop on June 2013 to develop a results-based project monitoring evaluation system for the SPF system for workers in the informal sector. The workshop will be attended by representatives from various government agencies and informal sector groups.

The strategic workshop is part of the Labor Day Celebration for Informal Sector Workers which will be held at the Ichikawa Hall of the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City on May 30, 2013,” Baldoz announced.

During the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011, the member-states of the International Labor Organization tripartite constituents, including the Philippines, adopted the ILO Recommendation on National Floors of Social Protection that sets out nationally-defined sets of basic social security guarantees, which are aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion.

The social protection floor system will be composed of guarantees of access to essential health services; income support for children for education, health, and nutrition; income assistance for economically active groups who do not have sufficient earnings in case of contingencies; and financial support for elderly population.

“The DOLE, in convergence with other agencies, is looking at the under-employed, self-employed, and unpaid family workers who are a big part of the informal sector and who constitute workers in vulnerable employment,” said Baldoz.

The labor chief added that the Department has identified five occupational groups, which, by virtue of their nature of work, are more vulnerable than others. These occupational groups are (1) farmers, forestry workers, and fishermen constituting 4.786 million workers; (2) laborers and unskilled workers totaling some 4.388 million workers; (3) service workers and shop market sales workers constituting 1.071 million workers; (4) trade and related workers which has 608,000 workers; and (5) drivers which has 396,000 workers.

Baldoz added that the social protection floor system is part of the objectives of the Enhanced Social Protection Operational Framework and Strategy of the Philippines, which identified four core programs where interventions are categorized into social insurance, labor market interventions, social safety nets, and social welfare.

“The social protection floor system is anchored on the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2011–2016 on decent and productive work resulting to increased social protection coverage; expanded benefits; improved access to social protection mechanisms; and safe work for all,” said Baldoz.

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