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The Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) together with the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) held a series of roll-out of ILO Recommendation No. 204 (ILO R204) starting with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) National Capital Region (NCR) last November 25 to 26, 2019 at the Orchid Garden Suites Hotel in Manila.

Thirty-two participants from the national government agencies, local government units, and private sector partners attended the program.

Atty. Sarah Buena Mirasol, Regional Director of the DOLE-NCR, formally started the event by expressing that the workers in the informal economy comprise the big portion of the labor force.

“These workers [informal sector workers] are exposed to vulnerabilities and decent work deficits because workers are less likely employed in formal arrangements. I hope that this awareness-raising activity would help the local policy makers in crafting responsive policies and programs for the sector,” Mirasol added.

Ms. Sandra Yu, Local Strategies for Decent Work Specialist of the ILO, further emphasized the concepts pertaining to informal economy and explained the relevance of the ILO R204 in addressing informality of work.

Yu added, “Formalization is a rational choice between expected benefits like access to markets and finance or legal protection, and costs like taxes. High informality impacts on development of sustainable enterprises and public revenues.”

Moreover, Ms. Susanita Tesiorna, President of the Alliance of Workers in the Informal Economy/Sector (ALLWIES), discussed the barriers to sustainable enterprises in the Philippine context.

“While there is an existing governance framework, the sector is still confronted with issues like high cost of business entry, statistical invisibility, lack of productive resources and access to social security, justice and protection at workplaces, and lack of representation in decision-making bodies,” Tesiorna said.

The ILO R204 was adopted during the 104th International Labor Conference in 2015 in order to address the plight of many workers and economic units in the informal economy. It also serves as a guiding framework for policy makers to facilitate the transition of workers from informal to formal economy.

The first leg of the roll-out consultation was held in Cebu City last October 21 to 22 and Davao City last October 24 to 25.  A total of 77 participants from different sectors attended the said consultations.


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