ASEAN Philippine government called on to head national upskilling taskforce

The Philippines government needs to work alongside business leaders, academics and prominent civic figures on a common, human capital development initiative if the national workforce is to be successfully upskilled, according to recent statement from the country’s ASEAN Society – a group dedicated to ensuring that ordinary citizens benefit from membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic bloc. Clarifying the objectives of her organization, Alma Rita R. Jimenez, the president of the ASEAN Society Philippines (ASP), said: representatives of every aspect of Philippine society needed to jointly determine the country’s integral market advantages and then develop a programme focused on instilling the skills required to take its economy to the next level.

Any such programme, she said, would need to include implementable strategies related to creating sustained employment in an increasingly automated world, while also emphasizing the importance of clearly delineating the country’s comparative advantages, the opportunities for supplying talented personnel to third parties and the level of talent that needed to be retained within the country. Jiminez, a former tourism undersecretary, also urged the government to reconsider the currently “restrictive labor laws”, to look at facilitating the work-at-home preferences of many uncontracted employees and to review how automated systems are being deployed in the manufacturing sectors. In terms of existing moves to close the skills gap, the country’s Department of Trade and Industry has recently announced a partnership with SkillsFuture, a Singaporean government body with a focus on vocational education.

Looking at the broader picture, trade undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said his department was now collaborating with a number of industry groups with a view to developing sector-based road maps with the aim of nurturing innovation and the due adoption cutting-edge technologies.

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