Strengthening the Impact of Trade on Employment in the Philippines


Supported by International Labour Organization and the European Union, STRENGTHEN (2016-2018) aims to strengthen the employment dimension in policies and programmes related to international trade with better analysis, more coherent policy making, and enhanced programmes that are designed to encourage employment creation and upgrading.

DTI handles this project together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), other NGAs, and Labor and Employers’ Organization.



  • Coordinated the courtesy call of the new National Project Coordinator, Ms. Katherine Brimon, to selected DTI officials.


  • Coordinated meeting between International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Mr. Hideki Kagohashi and DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Officials held on 11 Feb 2019. The meeting aimed to discuss with DTI EMB the application of block-chain approach in selected export products and the preparations for the 3rd Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) Workshop which will focus on the utilization of tools such as the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) and Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model in the monitoring of trade effects/gains on employment.
  • Coordinated conduct of the Presentation of the TRAVERA Survey Results held on 26 Feb 2019 and shared copy of the presentation to DTI participants for feedback.


  • Coordinated and participated in the 3rd PEDP Workshop held from 06-08 March 2019.
  • Coordinated and participated in the Presentation of the Value Chain Analysis (VCA) of the 3 Non-Traditional Coconut Products (NTCPs) namely, VCO, coco sugar and coco coir held on 13 March 2019. Mr. Cecilio Costales proposed value chain business models for the said NTCPs.
  • Submitted to ILO Country Office-Manila on 22 March 2019 the consolidated comments and recommendations of DTI on the TRAVERA – Value Chain Analysis Report of Mr. Cecilio Costales.


  • Ongoing coordination with ILO CO-Manila on the upcoming ILO Stakeholder’s Forum to be held on 11 April 2019.


  • Coordinated and participated in the Technical Working Group (TWG) Meeting held on 21 May 2019 where project updates and the ongoing study on Labor and Employment in the Philippines’ International Trade Agenda: Institutional Mapping and Agenda Analysis were discussed.
  • Provided assistance to DOLE-Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) in arranging their meeting request with DTI- Bureau of International Trade Relations’ (BITR) Ms. Lyn Aquia who had been nominated as DTI Key Informant for the above-mentioned DOLE-ILS study.


  • Prepared invitation for the ILO STRENGTHEN TWG Meeting held on 30 July.


  • Participated in the STRENGTHEN Stakeholder’s Forum on Strengthening the Impact on Employment of Sector and Trade Policies held on 18 September.
DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba delivers her message of support during the Stakeholder’s Forum on Strengthening the Impact on Employment of Sector and Trade and Policies held on 18 Sept. 2019 at the Makati Diamond.

October – December

Germane to the conclusion of the Strengthen Project, the Department of Trade and Industry expressed its willingness, through writing to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office-Manila, to be the repository of the data sets of the Country Study, TRAVERA Survey and Social Accounting Matrix- based (SAM-based) Toolkit. Moreover, DTI expressed its intention to hold an Employment Impact Assessment Training in partnership with ILO, in order to capacitate DTI in assessing how the export sector contributes to and the existing trade agreements are translated to employment generation.

  • Coordinated and attended the International Labor Organization (ILO) Technical Working Group (TWG) Meeting held on 15 January 2018. Dr. Alvin Ang presented the 4th draft of the Inception Study on the Impact of Trade on Employment. Also, Mr. Bryan Balco discussed the 2017 project accomplishments and the upcoming activities for 2018.
  • Coordinated and attended the meeting between DTI Asec Rafaelita Aldaba and ILO Country Office-Manila representative Mr. Bryan Balco. Their discussion centered on the: (i) major accomplishments and outputs per project key area from 2016 to present and (ii) proposed upcoming activities. Mr. Balco also solicited inputs from DTI about the latter’s’ capacity building needs. Assistant Director Agnes Legaspi requested assistance in the monitoring of Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) accomplishments while Assistant Secretary Aldaba proposed for a study on contractualization.
  • Coordinated and attended the ILO STRENGTHEN TWG Meeting on 12 April 2018. Mr. Bryan Balco introduced to the TWG members the consulting firm — Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies (REECS) that will carry out the Enterprise Survey (TRAVERA). REECS presented the proposed TRAVERA survey methodology, approach and implementation strategy as well as the survey questionnaire.
  • Coordinated and attended the TRAVERA Survey Validation Workshop held on 23 April 2018.  The objective of this workshop was to seek comments and inputs from the TWG members and from there finalize the TRAVERA survey approach, methodology, list of respondents, regions to be covered and polish the survey questionnaire.
  • Conducted TRAVERA survey care of REECS.
  • Coordinated the Follow-up Technical Workshop in support of the New PEDP on Linking Labor Standards and Export Policies, held on 04-05 October 2018.
  • Coordinated meeting of ILO with DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) to gather information in relation to the TRAVERA: Coconut Value Chains Study.




  • Coordinated and attended the first Tripartite Working Group Meeting of the International Labor Organization- (ILO) STRENGTHEN Project which was chaired by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Assistant Secretary Alex Avila and co-chaired by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba. The selection of the coconut industry as the export sector of focus for the STRENGTHEN Project’s programme support on value chains and skills upgrading in the Philippines was discussed in the meeting.
  • Coordinated among concerned DTI offices and bureaus the meeting invitation of ILO on the STRENGTHEN Project’s second Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting which was held on 29 May 2017. Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba attended the said TWG meeting, wherein the members proposed the following products as coconut sub-sector focus: virgin coconut oil, activated carbon, coco coir and coco sugar.

  • Attended the third ILO STRENGTHEN Project TWG Meeting together with representatives from DTI-Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) and DTI- Bureau of Trade and Industrial Policy Research (BTIPR) on 31 July 2017. The TWG members agreed that the value chains mapping could focus on the three (3) non-traditional products being championed by the Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA): coco coir, coco sugar and VCO—which are currently being supported by its KAANIB Enterprise program which seeks to support village-level enterprises for domestic/export production.

  • Coordinated the ILO STRENGTHEN Mid-Term Evaluation Meeting which was held on 14 August 2017. In attendance were Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba and representatives from Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED), Export Development Council (EDC), Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) and Bureau of Trade and Industrial Policy Research (BTIPR).
  • Coordinated the Follow-Up Workshop Training on Assessing and Addressing the Effects of Trade on Employment which was held on 24-25 August 2017. This was participated by technical staff from RGMS, BSMED, BTIPR, BITR and EMB.

  • Participated in the ILO TWG Meeting held on 08 Sep 2017 where the third draft of the inception study of the Impact of Trade on Employment was presented. The proposed Trade and Labour Standards Workshop, which is slated for Oct 2017, was also discussed.
  • Coordinated the proposed courtesy call with DTI Officials of Ms. Karen Curtis, the ILO Deputy Director for Standards. The courtesy call was in conjunction with the Trade and Labour Standards Workshop which was held on 10-12 Oct 2017.
  • Coordinated the conduct of and participated in the ILO National Tripartite Conference on Trade and Labour Standards which was held on 11-12 Oct 2017.

  • Assisted ILO CO Manila and represented DTI in the multi-stakeholder meeting in preparation for the Inception Workshop of the ILO STRENGTHEN Project
  • Participated in the Inception Workshop held at the Century Park Hotel on 6-7 October 2016. The workshop, which was attended by representatives from DOLE and other NGAs as well as social partners and other stakeholders, has for its goals: (a) to create connections between interested parties for policy dialogue; (b) to provide a conceptual framework for assessing the effects of trade on employment; (c) to disseminate up-to-date statistics on the Philippines’ trade and labour markets; (d) to discuss and exchange views and experiences on the impact of trade on employment in the Philippines; and (e) to validate the Country Work Plan.
  • Coordinated the meeting with ILO to discuss the draft ToR for the Creation of the Tripartite Technical Working Group
  • Coordinated, assisted, and attended the Preliminary Tripartite Technical Working Group. It was agreed that the focus sector for the TRAVERA program is processed food specifically coconut.

For more information