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29 December 2014 - The Philippines welcomed on December 26 the US$1 million technical assistance grant announced by Washington to strengthen workers’ rights by bolstering the country’s labor inspection capacity.

"This is yet another initiative that reflects the enduring strategic partnership between the Philippines and the United States,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said shortly after the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) of the US Department of Labor announced the grant.

The grant, which was awarded to the International Labour Organization, is intended to help improve the effectiveness of labor inspections in the Philippines, particularly in the areas of occupational safety and health and labor rights monitoring by workers, employers and their representatives.

“The assistance will further accelerate our compliance with global labor standards,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he commended the Department of Labor and Employment, particularly Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, who vigorously negotiated for its approval on behalf of the Philippines.

In selecting the Philippines, the ILAB noted the number of steps taken by the country to increase staff and enhance technology in labor inspections. It said the grant will assist in these efforts by improving labor law compliance and labor rights monitoring.

“This kind of targeted technical cooperation assistance impacts significantly the promotion of labor standards enforcement and compliance in the Philippines and ensures the protection of workers rights to decent employment,” Ambassador Cuisia noted.

Labor Attaché Angel Borja said the announcement of the grant could not have come at a more timely occasion, coming as it does at a particular stage when the Philippines is working hard to sustain the gains the economy has achieved in 2014 and gearing up to meet new development challenges in 2015 and beyond. 

“As a way forward, the role of a robust and institutionalized labor inspection regime that guarantees employers compliance to internationally-accepted labor standards on a sustainable basis cannot simply be over-emphasized,” Borja said.

“Labor inspections as a means of enforcing existing labor laws are essential to raising standards for workers around the world,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Carol Pier, who also announced a US$2-million grant for Peru.

“These projects will build on existing efforts within Peru and the Philippines to help those countries better enforce their labor laws and protect workers’ rights,” Pier added.

Since 1995, ILAB has worked with other governments and international organizations to identify aid that countries may require to improve the labor conditions of their workers.

ILAB’s Office of Trade and Labor Affairs currently provides approximately US$76 million in technical assistance to improve worker rights, livelihoods and labor law compliance in more than 72 countries around the world. END