Labor Secretary Bello is preparing to take on the ILO challenge

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced on Sunday that he is ready to take on the responsibility of leading a group in the International Labor Organization that represents both big and little nations across the world.

“I think all previous labor secretaries had wished of getting elected chairman of the ILO group. Our chairmanship this year is unprecedented, the first in the history of the century-old ILO,” Bello said.

The Philippines has just taken over as chairman of the influential Government Group of the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO).According to Labor Attaché Cheryl Daytec, who oversees the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Switzerland, the nation is now “first among equals.”

“This is why I am inclined to actively assume the role and take on the challenge of leading the ILO body,” Bello added.

The Philippines has just taken over as chairman of the influential Government Group of the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO).According to Labor Attaché Cheryl Daytec, who oversees the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Switzerland, the nation is now “first among equals.”

“Our new leadership role as Chair of the Government Group of the ILO’s Government Body gives us a ‘primus’ position among ILO Member States. For the record, in the 102 years of the ILO existence, this is the first time that an observer cou ntry is the Government Group Chair,” Daytec said in a statement.

She added, “Not all ILO member States are equal. Presently, the ILO has 187 Member States. In the Governing Body, these states are categorized into non-elective titular/regular members, elected titular or regular members, elected deputy members, and observers. The twenty-eight (28) titular/regular Member States have voting and speaking rights. The 28 deputy member States have speaking rights but are devoid of voting rights. The rest, including the Philippines, are observers shrived of voting and speaking rights in the ILO Governing Body.”

“The chairing role will benefit from the rich experience of Secretary Bello’s as a peace negotiator for three decades,” she said.

The Philippines has just assumed leadership of the International Labor Organization’s important Government Group in Geneva (ILO). The Philippines is now “first among equals,” according to Labor Attaché Cheryl Daytec, who supervises the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Switzerland.

“The Government Group acts as the mediator or conciliator of conflicts between the two groups on issues affecting labor standard setting, good governance, and other issues requiring the decisions of the Governing Body and the International Labour Conference. A skilled arbiter of competing interests, like Secretary Bello, can steer the three groups towards achieving consensus on international labor standards and other matters,” she said.

Specifically, the Philippines will perform the following functions:

Chairing of meetings

The Government Group works as a mediator or conciliator in disputes between the two groups concerning labor standard formulation, good governance, and other problems requiring decisions of the Governing Body and the International Labour Conference. A skillful arbitrator of opposing interests, such as Secretary Bello, may guide the three parties toward agreement on international labor standards and other issues.

Acting as communication and coordination channel

The Philippines, as Chair of the Government Group in the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body, shall serve as the connecting pin between the International Labour Office and the Government Group, as well as the communication channel for the Government Group to reach the social partners’ groups – the Employers’ Group and the Workers’ Group.

Speaking for the Government Group

The Chairperson of the Government Group is usually the Group’s spokesperson at the International Labour Conference, regional meetings, technical or sectoral meetings, and Governing Body Sessions.

Building Consensus

In its crucial leadership role, the Philippines must support negotiations within the Government Group in order for the Group to establish a consistent position on matters such as international labor standards.
This shared stance will be negotiated in official and informal settings with the social partners.
Using its position of leadership, the Philippines, through Sec. Bello, may have an impact on worldwide labor standard formulation and policy-making. Sec. Bello, as a skillful negotiator, can promote the acceptance by the Government Group of a stance that can then be “sold” to the social partners.

Setting the Governing Body agenda

The Chairperson of the Government Group is a member of the influential Screening Group, which is in charge of defining the Governing Body’s agenda. This meets following the Governing Body’s sessions in March and November to determine the agenda for the following session. As a result, the Philippines gains clout in agenda-setting.

Nominating various offices or membership in meetings and committees

The Philippines will be in charge of organizing nominations of Group members to different posts through the Regional Coordinators and communicating them to the appropriate authorities (Government Group, Governing Body, Conference, etc.).

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