September 16, 2015 – News Releases
|16 September 2015|
APEC News Releases
|Philippines to test APEC policy toolkit for women|
|(MANILA) The Philippines will conduct a pilot study on an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative to promote the protection of women in the workplace.
The APEC Women and the Economy (WE) Fora on Wednesday launched the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, which provides a menu of policies that aim to address barriers that hinder women’s productivity in the workplace, as well as increase women’s participation in the economy.
“The pilot of the implementation of this toolkit will be done here in the Philippines,” Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said at the APEC-WE Fora press conference.
Ubial mentioned that the DOH targets to roll out the Policy Toolkit in 10 selected private companies at the Clark Economic Zone in Central Luzon, starting January 2016.
The Policy Toolkit focuses on five key categories: workplace health and safety; health access and awareness; work-life balance; sexual and reproductive health; and gender-based violence.
The DOH, along with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry, will develop the scorecard next month to rate companies’ implementation of the toolkit.
Under the scorecard, the public sector will rate the companies according to colors: green for 90 points and up; yellow for 71 to 89 points; and red for 70 points and below.
Ubial said the government will provide a grant of P500,000 per company, or a total of P5 million for the entire trial run, which shall be used by companies to document an impact study on how the Policy Toolkit benefitted the company.
“Those rated green will be provided grants so that they can actually document the interventions and the effect on their businesses, whether there has been significant gains in their financial and commercial interest,” she said.
“Hopefully the other economies of Asia and the Pacific can adapt it in their specific areas,” she added.
The Philippines will conclude its hosting of the APEC-WE Fora on Friday. PNA (kc)
|APEC dashboard shows 60 percent of women do not have savings accounts|
|(MANILA) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Dashboard 2015 shows that 60 percent of women in APEC member economies do not possess savings accounts.
The report noted that despite APEC initiatives to improve women’s financial literacy and access to capital, women’s use of financial services remains low.
“Another example of low use of financial services by women is reflected in the proportion of women aged 15 and older with savings at a financial institution, which was equal to 38.5 percent in 2014. In other words, more than 60 percent of adult women in APEC did not possess savings accounts,” the Dashboard stated.
“This occurs despite the fact that around 59 percent of the female population aged 15 or older was economically active between 2008 and 2013, and the ratio of female to male labor force participation remained steady around 77 percent,” it added.
During the APEC Women and the Economy (WE) Fora here, it was explained that the APEC measures women’s participation in regional economy through the Dashboard in terms of access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity building, and health; leadership, voice, and agency; and innovation and technology.
“The Dashboard, at the onset, told us that there are clear efforts within the region to improve the conditions women are facing to facilitate their participation in the economy, and there are several areas toward this end that need more work,” said APEC Policy Support Unit Senior Analyst Carlos Kuriyama.
The Dashboard revealed the low participation of women in leadership positions in both public and private sectors, as well as the limited laws protecting women in entering the labor market.
On the other hand, it noted APEC progress on women’s accessibility to training and educational programs; and reducing maternal mortality rates and increasing live births.
However, data on women’s participation in innovation and technology are still limited.
“Capacity-building activities with statistical government agencies in issues related to data collection could be a first step to improve data availability in the future. This could also be useful for these agencies to cover the gap left by some indicators that seem to have been discontinued,” the Dashboard noted. PNA (kc)
|APEC economies, private sector launch policy toolkit to empower women|
|Economic development and gender officials from member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in cooperation with the private sector, launched in Manila on Wednesday the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economic Policy Toolkit aimed at empowering women in the workplace and society.
The toolkit, which offers a user-friendly, one-stop menu of policy options, can be used to pilot, implement and scale up actions appropriate to local economic and social conditions.
With the toolkit, it will be easier for governments and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region to introduce health policies that facilitate the participation of women in economies, opening the door to significant improvements in social mobility and growth across the region.
“Better health outcomes for women are a prerequisite for increased women’s participation in an economy,” said Health Secretary Janette Garin, the co-chair of the experts group that oversaw the drafting of the toolkit.
“The Philippines is committed to putting words into action by piloting the toolkit, in the hope that our experience may serve as a guide for greater progress.”
Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado said the launch of the toolkit is a good start to identify challenges confronting women, despite ample public and private support for advancing women’s economic empowerment.
Terrado chairs this year’s APEC Women and the Economy (WE) Fora, including the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, which oversees the toolkit and related APEC initiatives.
“When evidence and good practices for improving women’s health are within arm’s reach, it helps to drive the entire process,” she said.
The International Labor Organization has estimated that a billion women around the world could play a more active role in their economies.
This includes women in informal, vulnerable and unregulated employment, as well as women with disabilities and migrant women.
In many cases, health barriers inhibit them from entering and remaining in the workforce, and achieving career advancement.
“This toolkit brings together the necessary stakeholders to advance health, labor and economic growth, and gender equality all at once,” said US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell.
“When you consider the research that shows domestic violence costs economies two percent of GDP, it is clear that women’s health and safety are critical issues in economic policy,” Russell said.
The toolkit details issues, actions and implementing elements for improving women’s health in APEC economies across five categories: workplace health and safety; health access and awareness; work-life balance; sexual and reproductive health; and gender-based violence.
It is assessed by a US-funded literature review that offers evidence validating its recommendations.
How the region will move forward on women empowerment and challenges are being addressed by officials and by private sector representatives in Manila this week.
Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Dr. Alan Bollard, said fostering policies that empower women to participate in the economy and benefit directly from the forces of globalization has become a high priority within the APEC.
“A fully engaged workforce within and across economies can have profound implication on productivity and prosperity, so we are aggressively collaborating with business and civil society in pushing these initiatives,” he said.
For her part, Chief Executive Officer of Merck Healthcare, Belen Garijo, said there is a real need to narrow gaps in understanding the relationship between women’s health, participation in the economy and economic outcomes.
“The new opportunity we have today to define gender-balanced health policies and support implementation work bodes well for the building of inclusive economies into the future,” said Garijo, who also co-chairs the expert group that assisted the drafting of the toolkit. PND (as)
|APEC policy toolkit for women seeks to institutionalize paid sick leaves, flexible schedules, child-minding centers|
|(MANILA) The Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, launched during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora here Wednesday, will provide solutions to women’s “double role” in society by institutionalizing paid sick leaves, flexible schedule, and child-minding centers.
During a joint press conference, Department of Health Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said the toolkit aims to provide women “a supportive environment to actually participate in the economy”.
The policy toolkit identifies issues on workplace health and safety, health access and awareness, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and work-life balance for women in the APEC region.
To address work-life balance, the toolkit provides a range of recommended actions for the public and private sector so as to balance the roles of women in homes and in the workplace.
“(The toolkit will) allow women to participate in economic activities, particularly (by) looking at strategies (to) mitigate and identify barriers for women’s involvement in economy,” Ubial said, placing emphasis on the “double burden” carried by women “saddled with the responsibility of caring for the very young and the very old”.
Flexibility of schedule, child-minding and breastfeeding centers on site, maternity protection legislation, and paid sick leave and time-off policies are just some the recommendations of the toolkit for the public and private sectors.
These recommendations will allow women in the workplace to be more productive.
Economic impact of more women-friendly policies
The policy toolkit also highlights the “need to strengthen family care options” by collecting data that will inform policymakers and employers of the economic impact of more supportive family care policies.
It will develop and enforce protective maternity leave laws and policies that will establish a minimum of 14 weeks of compensated leave, and will promote paid paternity, adoption, and family leave work and family policies.
According to the toolkit, allowing a flexible work schedule, compensatory leave and telework schedule would enable women employees to take the time necessary to care of children and elders, as well as get the medical attention they need.
Ubial explained that although the toolkit is non-compulsory, companies that adopt the recommendations will be provided with a scorecard under which, depending on their scores, they could get as much as P500,000 in grant from the health department.
The grant can be used to enhance programs and to document the changes or effects of such programs on their workplace productivity and business improvement.
Companies that earn a green mark (90 percent or higher) will get the grant. A yellow mark means the company got 71 percent to 89 percent, while a red mark means the company received 70 points or less. (acg)
|President Aquino approves 10 percent across-the-board increase in public employees’ compensation pension|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed Executive Order No. 188, imposing a 10 percent across-the-board increase in employees’ compensation (EC) pension in the public sector.
The President signed the order last September 11 after the Employee’s Compensation Commission (ECC) recommended the increase in the pension of government employees.
An actuarial study conducted by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) shows that the State Insurance Fund (SIF), which is administered by the GSIS, can finance the increase in EC pension for the public sector without affecting the stability of the SIF and without requiring additional contributions from the national government.
The ECC has the power and the duty to upgrade benefits and grant new ones for permanent disability or death, subject to the approval of the President. PND (ag)
|APEC member economies must address women’s health issues, drug company chief says|
|Women do not get the right diagnosis and treatment of diseases, compared to men, thus member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) must do more in addressing health issues concerning women to enable them to contribute to economic development, the head of a leading drug company has said.
“Health goes hand in hand with workforce participation and obviously, if women are not healthy, they are hindered from joining or remaining in the workforce,” Chief Executive Officer of Merck Healthcare, Belen Garijo, said during the launch of the policy toolkit for women, held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Wednesday.
Depending on where one lives, the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses often favor men, Garijo said, noting that women’s health issues are often tied to maternal and child health.
For example, she said, twice as many women who have heart attacks will die within one year, compared to men.
Such diseases as hypothyroidism, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and anemia are common among women yet they lack diagnosis and treatment.
“So, we do have a responsibility to do better to comprehensively address women’s health issues more effectively throughout their life cycle and in the workplaces and communities,” she said.
Many projects are in the right direction, she said, adding that Merck has been working with the Department of Health on a public-private partnership project to raise public awareness of thyroid disorders, which affect women nearly eight times more than men.
Garijo said they have made tremendous progress over the years and that she is looking forward to hearing more on how APEC economies and the private sector could continue to successfully move this forward through the APEC meeting in Manila.
At the same time, Garijo noted Merck’s commitment to drive the initiative to achieve APEC goals that benefit women and increase their participation in the workforce.
Economic development and gender officials from APEC member economies, in cooperation with the private sector, on Wednesday launched the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economic Policy Toolkit aimed at empowering women in the workplace and society.
The toolkit, which offers a user-friendly, one-stop menu of policy options, can be used to pilot, implement and scale up actions appropriate to local economic and social conditions.
Adopting the toolkit will make it easier for governments and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region to introduce health policies that facilitate the participation of women in economies.
It will also open the door to significant improvements in social mobility and growth across the region. PND (as)
|Firms that adopt APEC policy toolkit for women can get P500,000 grant from health department|
|(MANILA) Philippine companies with women-friendly policies that follow the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) can get a P500,000 grant from the Department of Health.
The toolkit is not compulsory, but the Philippine government is urging the private sector to incorporate the measures included in the policy toolkit to improve the working conditions for women.
Department of Health Assistant Secretary Paulyn Ubial said companies that adopt the toolkit will be provided with a scorecard that will monitor the company’s progress in the implementation of the toolkit’s five areas of concern.
These areas are: workplace health and safety; health access and awareness; work-life balance; sexual and reproductive health; and gender-based violence.
Companies with a score of 90 percent or higher will get the green mark, and will receive P500,000 in grant from the health department’s budget, which they can then use to enhance programs and to document the changes or effects of such programs on their workplace productivity and business improvement.
A yellow mark means the company got 71 percent to 89 percent, while a red mark means the company received 70 points or less.
Ubial said the more recommendations in the toolkit the companies adopt, the higher their points.
The Philippines has volunteered to pilot the toolkit since the link between women’s health and the economy was discussed during the APEC 2014 in China.
Ubial said the toolkit will be piloted in Central Luzon, where some 10 companies of different settings — those with a large number of women workers and those employing a bigger number of male workers — are expected to participate.
The monitoring and grading of the companies that will adopt the toolkit will begin in January 2016 because a scorecard has to be drafted and finalized first, the health official added.
Nora Terrado, head of the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Fora and undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, said “the toolkit provides the framework on how to start.”
“(The) toolkit will allow companies to identify or articulate the vision on how much target they want (and) how to move forward and identify priorities they want to address first,” she added. (acg)
|APEC women icons recognized in exhibition|
|The Department of Trade and Industry and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) on Wednesday presented “ICONOGRAPH, An Exhibition of Women Icons of APEC”, in recognition of women’s contribution to economic growth.
The ICONOGRAPH exhibition, held simultaneously with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora at the Philippine International Convention Center, is a way of recognizing and paying tribute to successful women in the Asia-Pacific region.
The exhibition highlights extraordinary women economic leaders from APEC member-economies in the 21st century, appealing to a contemporary sense of pride in leadership in the sustainable growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Through ICONOGRAPH, an exhibition of women icons of APEC, we hope to shine the light on 16 extraordinary women, each nominated by the respective economies based on the remarkable achievements in the MSME sector,” said Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, Jr. of the Industry Promotions Group.
The women icons were selected based on business model and performance, the role model attributes, their impact on societies, other women, vision, leadership, community service, and social commitment.
The exhibit was designed by one of the country’s top women curators, Marian Pastor Roces of TAO Inc., which is reflective of APEC’s gender integration and equality, as well as women’s economic empowerment to foster sustainable growth and prosperity in the region.
Its creative approach also signals a kind of leadership anchored on genuine and meaningful engagement.
Among the women featured in the exhibit are Carol Hanlon, Australia; Andrea Irarrazaval, Chile; Reny Feby, Indonesia; Bhg Dato’ Hazimah Zainuddin, Malaysia; Janet Sape, Papua New Guinea; Victoria Lennox, Canada;
Mei-Ping Hasio, Chinese Taipei; Lin Kobayashi, Japan; Wendy Pye, New Zealand; Shao Jie, China; Rosario Bazan de Aranguri, Peru; Minjai Lee, South Korea; Suwanna Jiwattanapaiboon, Thailand; Leonarda Capuyan, Philippines; Julie Hanna, United States; and Anna Nesterova, Russia. PND (as)
|2016 elections present a ‘very unique situation’ to voting public, says Palace official|
|With no explicit face of opposition among potential candidates for president in the 2016 elections, next year’s political landscape offers the voting public a ‘very unique situation’, a Palace official has said.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda only said this much to reporters in Malacañang on Wednesday ahead of the expected entry of Senator Grace Poe in the 2016 presidential race.
Poe, whose senatorial bid in 2013 was both supported by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, is presumed to announce her political plans on Wednesday afternoon.
The administration party already found a standard-bearer in former interior and local government secretary Manuel Roxas II, while Vice President Binay is leading the United Nationalist Alliance ticket.
“This is a very unique situation in our electoral history, where every time there is an election, everybody talks about change. This is the situation in our electoral history where we are going to talk about continuity,” Lacierda said.
As President Aquino’s preferred successor, Roxas is expected to continue his programs and policies under the ‘Daang Matuwid’ coalition, he said.
What to make of Poe’s and Binay’s objectives in eyeing the presidency remains to be seen as both have yet to present their respective platforms to the voting public.
“It is as simple as this—and this is historical, not my own personal opinion—elections in the Philippines have always been binary. When I say ‘binary,’ it’s administration; it’s opposition,” Lacierda told reporters.
“So how do you classify Grace and how do you classify Vice President Binay? It depends on the platform that they are going to espouse,” he added, adding that Roxas’ chances of winning are strong under ‘Daang Matuwid’ coalition.
Lacierda insisted that there is a need to institutionalize the reforms that President Aquino has implemented, especially the conditional cash transfer program, and the universal health coverage, among other things.
“We are running on a platform of continuity. For every country, if you look at the Asian countries that have prospered, it is because of the good economic policies that have continued,” he said. PND (hdc)
|Businesses without health care lose $89 billion in annual revenues – APEC experts|
|(MANILA) By failing to attract and care for women workers, businesses that do not provide health care lose some $89 billion every year, experts at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Women and the Economy Fora said here Wednesday.
This loss in revenue should prompt APEC economies to provide workers in the workplace, particularly women, easy access to primary health services, they said.
With women comprising about half of the 600 million global workforce, the bottom line would be affected if women’s health is not part of the business plan, said Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Nora Terrado.
“When health barriers inhibit women from entering the workplace, it causes the economies a lot of money. So literally, healthy women means healthy economies,” Terrado said during the launch of the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit to be presented at the APEC World Leaders’ Summit in November.
The private sector must be informed of the health risks of its workers so that revenue losses may be avoided, said Dr. Sarbani Chakraborty, Merck senior director on Global Public Policy.
Merck, a global pharmaceutical company, helps disseminate health information to businesses, Dr. Chakraborty said.
For instance, more women than men suffer and die from non-communicable diseases, such as heart attack, hypothyroidism, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and anemia, said Dr. Belen Garijo, Merck Healthcare Chief Executive Officer.
“For us in Merck, we encourage (businesses to adopt the toolkit). When they understand the benefit (the toolkit, they adopt the policy). We want businesses to understand the importance of attracting and retaining women: If you do more for women’s health, they are likely to come and stay with you,” she said. (acg)
|APEC policy toolkit promotes women’s sexual, reproductive health|
|(MANILA) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Wednesday launched a policy toolkit that promotes sexual and reproductive health to ensure that women are protected while they work.
The Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, which will be presented during the APEC World Leaders’ Summit in November, recognizes that women are prime movers of global economic growth, even as they perform their dual role as homemaker and moneymaker.
Merck Healthcare Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Belen Garijo, one of the experts invited by the APEC on women and health, stressed the importance of healthy women in the economy.
“Health goes hand in hand with workforce,” she said.
Department of Health Assistant Secretary Paulyn Ubial noted that women face the double burden of caring for the young and the old – barriers to achieving healthy women and healthy economies.
The toolkit is in tune with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against All Women (CEDAW), which guarantees women and men equal access to health care services, including family planning, and equal access to information, education, and means to enable them to exercise these rights.
The CEDAW also guarantees equal right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of children.
As such, the APEC action plan includes providing services on HIV treatment, family planning, antenatal management, childbirth, and postpartum care and infant and child care.
It also seeks to address problems of distance, lack of facilities, lack of transportation, inadequate number of skilled workers, strengthening and developing health services to make them comprehensive and age-appropriate.
Mutimedia, such as print, television, radio, and the Internet, will also be tapped to educate, develop, and help women recognize their rights to health.
In the Philippines, the Reproductive Health Bill, also known as The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10354), was enacted. It guarantees universal access to methods on contraception, fertility control, sex education, and maternal care. Passed in 2012, it is still awaiting the implementing rules and regulations. (acg)
|Women migrant workers more at risk from sexual harassment – APEC|
|(MANILA) Women migrant workers face a higher risk of sexual harassment and violence due to limited workspace, language barriers, and lack of job security, among others, experts at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Women and the Economy Fora 2015 have said.
Recognizing the vulnerability of women migrant workers, the APEC on Wednesday launched a toolkit proposing policies that promote healthy women, recognizing that healthy women mean healthy economies.
The toolkit, which includes policies that help develop, implement, and monitor support mechanisms to address sexual harassment in the workplace, is addressed to regional and local governments, as well as the private sector and non-profit organizations.
At the fora, representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO) explained that women migrant workers are more vulnerable on many fronts: gender, racial, ethnic, occupational, and nationality, and that they may also find themselves victims of exploitation, hazardous work conditions, and psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
Many women migrant workers are vulnerable to harassment because they are unaware what their rights are and how to exercise these rights, it was noted.
A way to address this is to conduct pre-departure and post-arrival seminars to include sharing of information on rights, employment contracts, helpline contacts, and travel tips.
These seminars must be conducted in the local language of the migrant women workers. Support services for those who have suffered sexual harassment and gender-based violence must be accessible and promoted widely.
The vulnerability is also because they don’t speak the language in the country where they work.
The Philippines, a big source of women migrant workers, also faces this dilemma. According to 2014 government statistics, 50.5 percent of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are women.
The Filipino women migrant workers are also comparatively younger than their male counterparts; almost three in every 10 female OFWs are between 25 and 29 years old.
The United States recognizes that women empowerment is needed for stability, peace, and development, US Ambassador-at-Large Catherine Russell said, adding that the US believes that women are entitled to the same rights as men. (acg)