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Villanueva: Fast-track gov’t plans on PH Job Market readiness on AI

MANILA — Senator Joel Villanueva is calling on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and other government agencies to fast-track the readiness and adaptability of the Philippine labor market to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to prevent job loss.

“We welcome new technology to make work life easy and lift productivity, but this requires DOLE and other agencies to work double time to make our workforce technically adept and equipped with crucial skills like critical thinking and problem solving, otherwise we would just be counting job losses,” Villanueva, chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development, said.

Proposed Senate Resolution No. 990, which was filed by Villanueva, seeks to conduct an inquiry into the preparedness of the government to address the impact of artificial intelligence on the local labor market and the future of work.

Recently, DOLE said that “manual operations” in some offices are the “first to be affected” by the deployment of AI.

Villanueva, principal author and sponsor of the Trabaho para sa Bayan (TPB) Act and the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act, also noted that NEDA should include the impact of emerging industries including AI in their ongoing consultations.

“The global push for digitalization and the widespread use of Al in all industries necessitates the need for an examination of the government’s programs and projects to prepare the country’s workforce to fully embrace the challenges of Al,” the measure said.

According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, almost 40% of global employment is exposed to AI. Another survey said 40% of young people around the world are concerned about losing their jobs, while 33% see AI as a significant driver of change in the workplace.

The Philippines in 2021 launched the National Artificial Intelligence roadmap to accelerate the adoption of AI to advance industrial development, generate better quality entrepreneurship, and provide higher-paying opportunities for Filipinos.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) created the National Industry Board for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in partnership with the Analytics Association of the Philippines.

The former TESDA Secretary also noted the inclusion of training in emerging industries, AI and the development of micro-credentials under the Tulong Trabaho Fund (TTF). Under the 2024 General Appropriations Act, the government allocated P 1.035 billion to TTF.

“AI will move from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’ technology. Businesses, offices, and organizations must be fully prepared to leverage it,” Villanueva said.

“Our government agencies must develop a cohesive plan to manage the integration of new technologies into the labor market. The goal is to make sure that humans and machines can create better results when working together,” he ended.

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