DOLE and ILO tie up seeks to upgrade skills, competency of MSME workers

Over 30,000 typhoon victims and distressed workers are the target beneficiaries of a new training program agreement between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

ILO and DOLE signed  early this month a memorandum of agreement (MOA), which aims to boost the productivity and employability of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) workers.

Under the accord, ILO will provide the training materials and capacity building for the national trainers endorsed by DOLE and other project partners, as well as the overall monitoring of succeeding training program for entrepreneurs.

The training will be implemented through ILO’s project on Bringing Back Jobs and Safety under the Covid-19 Crisis in the Philippines: Rebooting Small and Informal Business Safety and Digitally funded by Japan.

Tonilyn Lim, ILO program technical adviser, said the training would be implemented in two tranches.

The first will be under ILO’s Work Improvements in Small Enterprises for the Prevention and Mitigation of Covid-19 and through the workplace (WISE for Covid) Training and Sustaining Competitive and Resilient Enterprises (SCORE) training.

Lim said the program, which started this month, would cover over 10,000 microenterprises and informal businesses from the manufacturing, services, agriculture, and construction that are not normally able to avail of mandatory Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) training.

Meanwhile, SCORE will target areas like Region 4B and the National Capital Region, which both have a large number of small enterprises (30 to 100 employees) and involved in production and export activities.

The second part of the ILO project involves a digital entrepreneurship targeting over 20,000 enterprises, which will start this month.

Lim said WISE for COVID and the digital business training will prioritize beneficiaries from areas, which were affected by Typhoon “Odette” (international code name Rai) last month in Regions 5, 6, 7, 4B, 10, and 13.

ILO Country Office for the Philippines Director Khalid Hassan said the agreement would hopefully help in the “human-centered” recovery of pandemic and typhoon-hit establishments and workers.

“The ILO will partner with DOLE, workers and employers to promote safe and healthy workplaces, as well as to provide digital business development and financial services,” Hassan said.

For his part, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III welcomed the new partnership, which is in line with the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy.