MANILA – The Philippines marked a significant milestone as it commemorated 75 years of partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) through a grand Tripartite Cocktail Reception held at The Manila Hotel’s Centennial Hall on 27 June 2023. The event brought together esteemed dignitaries, government officials, representatives from the labor and employer sectors, and members of the international community to celebrate the country’s enduring commitment to social justice, decent work, and sustainable development.
The gathering not only honored the Philippines’ Diamond Anniversary as an ILO member but also served as the backdrop for ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo’s first official visit to the country.
Congressman Raymond C. Mendoza, speaking on behalf of the labor sector, emphasized the importance of tripartism and social dialogue in addressing the challenges faced by workers.
Mendoza highlighted the commitment of Philippine Labor to engage in a peaceful and responsible tripartite process, promoting comprehensive freedom of association and laying the foundation for a fair and equitable society.
Mr. Segio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., representing the employers’ sector, echoed the sentiment, stressing the need for collaboration, sharing best practices, and finding innovative solutions to navigate the evolving landscape of the global workforce. Ortiz-Luis underscored the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ alignment with the ILO’s vision of advancing social justice and promoting decent work.
Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo expressed gratitude for the enduring partnership between the ILO and the Philippines. Houngbo evoked the spirit of the 1944 ILO Philadelphia Declaration, quoting the powerful phrase, “Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere.” He reaffirmed the ILO’s unwavering commitment to fighting poverty, reducing inequality, and safeguarding the planet’s well-being.
“This is about our daily fight in ILO, our daily fight in the Government, our daily fight in the UN system, our daily fight in the whole development business. To make sure that we can put an end to poverty, to put an end to inequality, to put an end to the risk of people being left behind, to put an end to the destruction of the planet,” he stated.
Houngbo also stressed the indispensable role of social dialogue in building lasting peace and achieving social justice, calling for collective efforts across governments, the UN system, and development partners. “Nothing will replace social dialogue if we really want to build lasting peace if we really want to build social justice,” he added.
Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) underscored the country’s strong partnership with the ILO. “We are grateful that our partnership and collaboration with the ILO has contributed to guiding the nation’s development path. We are one of the first countries to embrace the ILO’s human-centered decent work agenda,” he said.
Towards the end of his comprehensive speech, Secretary Laguesma proposed a toast to celebrate the country’s 75th year of membership in the ILO and to many more years of fruitful engagements and healthy collaborations.
The event also featured a cultural presentation by the renowned UP Singing Ambassadors, who serenaded attendees and VIPs, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebration.
The occasion reached its climax with the presentation of the Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) 2023-2028 to the ILO representatives. Formulated through extensive nationwide consultations, the LEP aligns with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, underscoring the government’s commitment to inclusive growth, decent work opportunities, and social justice.
As the evening concluded, the Tripartite Cocktail Reception left a lasting impression, reaffirming the strong and enduring partnership between the Philippines and the ILO. The event served as a testament to the nation’s unwavering dedication to fostering social justice, decent work, and sustainable development, reinforcing the importance of collaboration and social dialogue in achieving these goals.
END/BLR (Photos by DOLE-IPS)
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