By Marita Moaje

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) pushed to improve workers’ rights and better labor conditions in a meeting with Japan and the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the sidelines of the 112th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Switzerland.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma made the call in a series of high-level diplomatic meetings with his counterparts at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the agency said in a news release Tuesday.

Laguesma and Japanese State Minister of Health Miyazaki Masahisa discussed best practices from Japan’s Health and Rehabilitation Center, exploring avenues for collaboration to support Filipino workers affected by work-related disabilities.

Laguesma shared with Japan the Philippines’ plans for the construction of a 50-hectare Workers Rehabilitation Center in Tanay, Rizal, which will serve as a sanctuary and a place of rehabilitation for workers and soldiers who suffer from work-related injuries, including employees with work-related disabilities or injuries to recover so they can eventually return to work.

He said the Workers’ Rehabilitation Center which aligns with Manila’s broader “Balik Buhay Manggagawa” initiative, may benefit from collaboration talks.

Laguesma also met with ILO Assistant Director General for the Jobs and Social Protection Cluster Mia Seppo on fostering collaboration in labor and employment policies, enhancing social protection systems, and promoting sustainable job creation.

During this meeting, Laguesma emphasized the Philippines’ commitment to these areas and highlighted ongoing efforts to bolster social safety nets and develop green jobs.

In another meeting with ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, Laguesma discussed strengthening cooperation in labor standards, social protection, and the care economy.

The meeting also underscored both parties’ shared goals of enhancing labor relations and addressing the dynamic needs of workers across the Asia-Pacific Region.

“Today’s discussions represent a significant stride towards enhancing labor policies and providing comprehensive support for our workers. The establishment of the workers’ rehabilitation center demonstrates our dedication to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all laborers,” Laguesma said.

The 112th ILC runs from June 3 to June 14.

The conference which convenes annually in Geneva, establishes international labor standards and sets broad policies for the ILO.

It is also known as the International Parliament of Labor and brings together governments, employers, and workers from 187 member-states. (PNA)