AS WE brace for this era’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe), the Philippines must rethink certain regulations on employment and modernize social security systems to enable a generation of globally-competitive talent, policy experts in a roundtable discussion said.
Dr. Vicente Paqueo and Dr. Aniceto Orbeta Jr., research fellows of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, stressed that this candid continuation of the 1st to 3rd industrial revolution would be a combination of digital, physical, and biological upheavals.
As the phenomenon cited will “fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another,” the Philippines, an emerging economy, is likewise at risk of its unescapable impact.
In their special study “Unlocking the Filipino People’s Potential in the Next Six Years and Beyond,” a series of researches commissioned by Philippine-based think tank Stratbase ADR Institute, Paqueo and Orbeta said policymakers should prioritize revving up areas of employment, human development, and social security.
This way, Manila will be able “to achieve rapid and inclusive economic growth that will drastically reduce poverty and allow disadvantaged people to enjoy the benefits of economic and technological progress.”
The experts said it’s now time to adapt with radical advances in science and technology which are siding more on the innovation of efficient labor-saving technologies.
The phenomenon means workers will frequently move from one job to another, thus the need to be highly trainable the same way economies would also need to be more flexible.
Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADRi, commented that unlike its Asian neighbors, the Philippines has adopted a less competitive regulatory environment. In the past months, labor unions and their political allies have clamored for an increase in the legal minimum wage, and that the same LMWs are applied to all regions.
“Huge increases in LMWs could make the employment of workers less attractive and labor-intensive enterprises less competitive,” Manhit explained.
Meanwhile, there are also demands to end all forms of contractualization. Ironically, Paqueo and Orbeta said “this could have unintended consequences, including an increased unemployment rate, reduce transition rate from temporary to permanent employment, and reduced efficiency in the use of human resources.”
To dodge negative impacts, what needs to be reconsidered is the replacement of job tenure with income security concepts and wage subsidies. To sustain this, there must be a mechanism to effectively assist the poor and near-poor so they may survive difficult transitions and even thrive under FIRe.
In perspective, Paqueo and Orbeta said both government and the citizens should “critically vet controversial policy ideas to avoid unintended consequences that are detrimental to the poor and vulnerable groups.” Through this and the emphasis of the three core issues, the experts appeased that we can survive globalization in the next six years and beyond.