Manila – Officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) participated in a recent online government consultation meeting led by the International Labor Organization (ILO) last July 22 via the Zoom online platform.

The meeting, which was organized by the office of Mr Hideki Kagohashi, ILO Enterprise Development Specialist, was attended by Benjo Santos M. Benavidez, DOLE Undersecretary for Labor Relations, Social Protection and Policy Cluster, Renato L. Ebarle, DOLE Undersecretary for Employment and General Administration Cluster, Ana C. Dione, DOLE Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Labor Standards and Special Concerns Cluster, ILS Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba, ILS Acting DED Patrick P. Patriwirawan, Jr., and LSRRD Acting Chief Miraluna A. Tacadao.

The remote government consultation is a joint meeting with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO) and the ILO on possible collaboration in support for a safe return to work targeting Micro-Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The primary objective of the meeting was to identify strategies on how to align DOLE’s support for safe return to work/safe workplace, particularly of MSMEs, with key public health interventions by DOH and the WHO.

It also seeks to address the continuing challenges of containing the pandemic while supporting the economy and people’s livelihood. The ILO and WHO also identified several important issues needed to be discussed in a quadripartite forum among the agencies knowing the critical interface between the public health and the world of work. Some of these include linking COVID KAYA (real-time reporting platform used exclusively by registered health workers in the country to track all COVID-19 cases) to the workplace safety support, minimizing the stigma of testing for businesses and workers, engaging employers and workers in contact tracing, safe working environment in tele-work and tele-commuting, and outreach to MSMEs including informal ones to support their safe working environment.