MANILA, Oct 24 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines is hosting the 27th Asean Labor Ministers’ Meeting (ALMM) and Related Meetings in Manila this week, Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said on Sunday.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma (from left, 2nd row in barong) poses with the members of the Commission on Appointment (CA) after his confirmation at the Senate on Tuesday (Sept. 20, 2022). (MNS photo)

Expected to attend the meetings from Oct. 25 to 29 are labor ministers and senior labor officials from the 10-member states of Aseam: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The labor officials will also hold meetings with Asean Plus Three dialogue partners China, Japan and South Korea.

Laguesma, who will chair the ALMM, said the biennial meetings serve as a major venue to identify and advance areas of regional cooperation on matters affecting labor and employment.

This year’s meetings mark a return to the face-to-face format and will focus on the theme of moving beyond the pandemic and further promoting digitalized, inclusive and sustainable recovery and growth for workers.

Included in the agenda of the meetings is the review of the progress of various regional programs on skills development, digitalization, climate change and green jobs, industrial relations and the changing world of work, migration and social protection.

Laguesma said the meetings will also highlight the need for more effective regional responses to unemployment especially in rural communities, rising food prices, and inflation, which are now among the biggest threats to workers’ welfare and well-being in the region.

The labor ministers are expected to come up with priorities for regional actions on improving skills for employment, upgrading competency and professional qualifications standards and the delivery of technical and vocational education and training (TVET); making ICT and digitalization accessible to all, and modernizing agriculture to improve agricultural productivity, enhance food security and create new jobs.

Laguesma noted that this is the first time that agricultural modernization and food security will be among the top priorities in the ALMM agenda.

This is a good development for the Philippines as it is fully aligned with the strategic priorities of President Ferdinand R. Marcos’s socio-economic agenda, Laguesma added. (MNS)