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Clark hosts Asean labor ministers’ meeting

Clark Freeport served as host as the Philippines chaired the 27th Asean Labor Ministers’ Meeting (ALMM).

The meeting led to agreements on key priorities for regional cooperation to advance the welfare and well-being of workers across Asean, officials said.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma met with his counterparts from Asean to push for increasing investments in human resource development and workforce competitiveness while ensuring better work conditions and strengthening protection for the displaced and vulnerable.

As the digitalization of enterprises brings new work processes and structures, Asean countries agreed to closely work together for improvements in ICT policies, infrastructures, and systems.

Affirming commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, the member states supported the Philippines’ two-year agenda, which urges modernizing the agriculture sector to create new employment opportunities, ensure food security, and protect workers’ income from rising food prices.

“Focusing on agriculture will not only help us address hunger but also expand employment and lift many out of poverty,” Laguesma said.

The Philippines also called for skills development through technical vocational education and training (TVET) systems that promote innovation through ICT, digitalization, and social equity, emphasizing skills upgrading in micro and small enterprises and for lower-skilled workers and rural communities.

To achieve this goal, Laguesma emphasized the need to establish common skills standards and mutual skills recognition, efficient and integrated labor market information and portable social protection, and the reorientation of TVET to meet the rapidly changing skills requirements of industries.

The Asean labor ministers agreed that strengthening these priorities would facilitate the movement and employability of workers in the ASEAN region across sectors and borders.

The discussions and agreements are recorded in a joint communique adopted by the labor ministers in the meeting.