Sydney – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez shared how the Philippines (PH) is preparing for the “future of work” during the CEO Forum held at the sidelines of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit last 17 March.

The CEO Forum gathered ASEAN and Australian business leaders to discuss six main topics vital to deepening economic integration. The topics, discussed in separate CEO Forum Roundtables, were (1) tourism destination development and aviation; (2) digital transformation in services; (3) advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0; (4) agri-food supply chain logistics; (5) future energy supply chains; and (6) infrastructure.

“The Philippines is developing inclusive innovation hubs to prepare our workforce, and allow them to adapt to technological advancements,” said the Trade Secretary.

The Department’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), that tightens the synergy between the industry and academe, would require a future-ready workforce. Government policies and projects on education, internship, training must be aligned and pushed. Industry links with the academe should accelerate their R and D innovation efforts while academe’s interaction with the industry will ensure that their research works will be relevant and market driven.

According to Lopez, PH education system now is encouraged to create a value system that promotes creativity and innovation. Likewise, students are now taught to understand the how-to's and the why's.

The goal of these initiatives is to prepare the Filipino workforce for future jobs that include artificial intelligence (AI). “We need to create an AI workforce that is more inclusive and will give a chance to much more Filipinos to be employed,” Lopez said. Advancing these skills will also provide job security for current roles that are endangered by technology.

Meanwhile, Sec. Lopez cited President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call for inclusive globalization, developing a symbiotic relation between big countries and small countries. This aims to encourage major economies to help developing countries, providing enabling programs that will build capacities in the developing nations and then ensuring as well that they open more market access for their products and services. This will certainly lead to a more shared prosperity in a globalizing world.

The event was opened by Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison MP who emphasized the importance of establishing greater linkages between both regions. Economic ministers were asked questions on trade, tourism, employment, and other cooperation initiatives between ASEAN and Australia.♦

Date of release: 21 March 2018

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