Jul 7, 2010

International Labor Organization supports Manila’s labor policies

The new country director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Monday said that he was backing labor policies of the Aquino administration, whose fight against poverty and joblessness would be carried out by “productivity and employment growth.”
In a statement, Lawrence Jeffrey Johnson cited the importance of the country finding ways on how to combat unemployment and increase the productivity of Filipinos.
“We believe that productivity and employment growth are the cornerstones of the fight against poverty. A highly trained and educated labor force combined with easy access to capital and technology can lead to a significant increase in productivity and help boost the country’s economy. Dialogue with employers and workers, organizations is also crucial,” Johnson said in reacting to the June 30 inaugural speech of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
He added that he would be supporting the Aquino government in its “goal to promote decent and productive work.”
Johnson, describing the worsening unemployment rate in the country as the worst since the Great Depression, said that impact of the economic crisis on employment and labor productivity meant that the number of workers living with their families in poverty has likely increased.
“We see workers living on the margin and at risk of falling further into poverty. As the economy recovers, we need to look at employment policies and strategies to help create both decent and productive employment,” the ILO head said.
In his inaugural speech before some half a million people at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park (Luneta), President Aquino said that he will revive the country’s emergency employment program in order to provide jobs for local communities and help in the development of the country.
Overseas labor
The President also highlighted the importance of creating jobs locally, so that there will be no more need for Filipinos to work abroad. He ordered relevant government agencies to be “more responsive” to the needs and welfare of Filipino workers abroad.
Mr. Aquino, the only son of democracy icons late former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and late former
President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, said that there is also a need for the country to strengthen its efforts to fund quality education, including vocational education especially for those who cannot find decent work.
He added that he would implement stable economic policies, level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance to business.
Johnson took over the ILO post on July 1 after the retirement of predecessor Linda Wirth. He officially joined the organization in 1997. Before joining the Manila team, Johnson served as chief of the ILO employment trends team and was a technical expert on the United Nations Inter-agency Expert Group for the Millennium Development Goals.
He also has a long-standing experience as a consultant and expert working in Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, East Asia, Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East. –Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, Reporter, Manila Times
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