As is well-known, DECP and the Dutch volunteer organisation PUM are in the process of merging. PUM has more than 1600 experts at its disposal who are deployed to support SMEs in particular in emerging countries. By combining these assets with DECP's network, employers' organisations, especially at sector level, can benefit from these combined forces. To familiarize the PUM management with the world of DECP, a joint mission was carried out to the Philippines. During a week-long visit, the work of ECOP, the Employers' Confederation of the Philippines, was introduced.
Andrew Moore, DECP's country manager for the Philippines among others, has built up a longstanding relationship with the staff of the national employers' organisation ECOP. Much progress has been made in that period in areas such as social dialogue, membership management and skills development. Even during the corona period, ECOP did not sit still and, with the support of DECP, released a series of TV programs on themes that are of great importance to entrepreneurs. PUM has 5 local representatives in the Philippines. Their task is to build contacts with SME entrepreneurs and to acquire concrete projects in areas such as agriculture, food processing or education.
Andrew Moore and the ECOP staff had prepared an impressive programme for this combined mission. This programme enabled Mr. Ton Voortman, PUM Sector Coordinator Employers and Business Support Organisations, and Mrs. Malu Alvarez Enriquez -PUM local representative in the Philippines- to become acquainted with the tasks of ECOP. Andrew Moore was accompanied by his colleague Jos van Erp, special advisor on skills development and DECP deputy director.
Intensive discussions took place with Mr. Jose Roland Moya -Executive Director- and Ms. Abigail Roxas Gorospe, who is responsible for Advocacy, Research, and Communications at ECOP. Among other things, it looked back at the cooperation between DECP and ECOP over the years and to what results this has led. Mr. Voortman performed a presentation about the PUM organisation. Every year, PUM carries out between 60 and 70 projects in the Philippines. It is therefore very obvious that many members of sector organisations affiliated with ECOP benefit from this. It goes without saying that focusing on a few sectors can lead to even more lasting impact over the next two years. ECOP will be the channel through which these contacts will take place, which guarantees speed and decisiveness.
PUM, DECP and ECOP staff members meet to discuss the transition from DECP to PUM
The delegation was able to take full advantage of the 43rd National Conference of Employers that took place on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 August at the Marriott hotel in Manila. More than 700 interested and, above all, relevant people had registered. Companies, government and academia were well represented. The theme 'The Future of Work, addressing challenges through social dialogue' is therefore a topic that concerns everyone. Especially after the changes that the corona pandemic has brought and is being felt throughout the nation.
The DECP-PUM vision on the Future of Work was well received by the participants and especially by the Board of ECOP
Jos van Erp was asked to present his vision on behalf of DECP regarding the relationship between skills development and social dialogue. He drew attention to the fact that in the Philippines, just like in the Netherlands, there is a war for talent going on for well-educated people. The difference, however, is that the Philippines has a large potential of people who have not (yet) received enough vocational education. Therein lies a hidden power that can be activated through intensive collaboration between stakeholders through social dialogue. This is also an important task for ECOP. This message was gratefully embraced by the members of the ECOP board, among others.
The interactive workshop on skills development and social dialogue was attended by 30 participants
To turn this idea into action - the sub-theme was 'from policy to action' - ECOP invited about 30 interested parties to participate in the workshop 'Skills Development and Social Dialogue' on Friday. This was performed by Jos van Erp with the support of Andrew Moore. During the workshop, concrete methodologies were presented and discussed that have been developed by DECP to analyse skills gaps and formulate solutions in which entrepreneurs are in the lead. The high degree of concreteness and applicability was particularly appreciated.
With this intensive combined mission of DECP and PUM, the door has been opened to the next step for further strengthening ECOP, the voice of business of the Philippines, through the new pillar of PUM; EBSO, Employers and Business Support Organisations.
Mr Ton Voortman offers a box of stroopwafels to Mr Jose Roland Moya as a milestone to start
cooperation between ECOP and PUM