On 11 July 2019, major business and worker organizations in the country discussed the creation of an agreement or a social accord that outlines mutually agreed upon perspectives and recommendations on skills development in the Philippines.

The Leaders’ Forum was established as a platform to discuss issues of common concern which may culminate in the signing of a document containing the consensus points reached by both parties. It is composed of high-level officials of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Skills development was one of the key issues of common concern identified in the first Leaders’ Forum meeting last February 2019. Working with the Philippine context where there are pervasive skills development issues such as job-skills mismatch, obsolete curricula, and inaccurate labor market information, coupled with the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, members of the Forum discussed existing limitations in the overall policy environment that affect education and skills, and identified as well possible points of intervention that could be implemented by the bipartite partners without government intervention.

Preliminary inputs provided by the body include (1) the need to reiterate genuine tripartite representation in all tripartite governmental agencies (including the trifocal educational agencies), (2)  the need to incorporate environmental and gender concepts, (3) and the importance of making TVET training institutions more accessible to workers.

The body agreed to discuss the bipartite skills development agreement again in the next Leaders’ Forum, along with other pressing political and social issues. The next meeting is tentatively set on 26 September 2019.

The activities of the Leaders’ Forum are conducted with the support of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) via the ECOP Project “Strengthening Bipartism at the National and Enterprise Levels”.