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ECOP Bicol hosts ILO-led resiliency workshop in Naga

NAGA CITY --- Invitations had been sent to representatives from the government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, development agencies, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bicol for a workshop on the role of business organizations in creating a culture of resilience and preparedness to mitigate the negative impact of disasters and conflicts. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and its Bicol Chapter (ECOP Bicol), in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) will be spearheading the workshop on May 8 at Avenue Plaza Hotel here. Roland Moya, ECOP Secretary General, said participants will have the opportunity to learn about the new Conflict Resilience Toolkit developed by ILO to help businesses in improving preparedness and reducing risk to natural disasters. ECOP Bicol President Clarine Palomares-Tobias said participants for the one-day workshop will come from Naga and the other cities and provinces of Bicol. She said that so far, only two areas – Naga and Zamboanga -- have been chosen to initially host the ILO-sponsored workshop that aims to promote decent work and sustainable and resilient enterprises. According to Joe Perez, executive director of ECOP Bicol who was tasked to organize the workshop, small businesses where most people are employed are often the least prepared to face natural disasters and the havoc they can leave in their wake. ILO has stated that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of hazards, and is envisaged to change the geographical distribution of extreme weather disasters. This will mean that SMEs could be impacted by hazards or disasters that have never occurred in their areas of business operation. Tobias said the workshop will be a very practical exercise principally designed to know if the ILO toolkit can be utilized by enterprises and their workers in Naga and the neighboring cities and provinces to explore the role that business and sectoral organizations can practically play in the process. Barely one year old, the newly-minted ECOP Bicol is building up its membership base throughout Bicol even as it promises to promote employers’ rights awareness and their responsibility towards the welfare of their workers and the communities.

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