International Labor Organization

Sen. Bam: AI a threat to Philippine jobs

Is the government ready to address possible negative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on jobs in the country?

Sen. Bam Aquino has submitted Senate Resolution No. 344, to conduct an inquiry on the government’s plan and initiatives to maximize the benefits of developments in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

“We want to know how developments in Artificial Intelligence will affect jobs in the country and what government plans are to address possible negative impact on current and future employment for Filipinos,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

According to Sen. Bam, reports on the impact of artificial intelligence have noted an increased presence and capacity of Chatbots and the emergence of systems capable of referring questions to human operators and learning from their responses.

 “These systems use artificial intelligence and are capable of performing the tasks of human employees, putting their employment in peril,” said Sen. Bam.

 The International Labor Organization (ILO) also released a working paper in July 2016, claiming that 49 percent of all employment in the Philippines faces a high risk of automation in the next couple of decades.

“This early, we should be preparing for any eventuality that may occur when automation goes into full swing,” Sen. Bam said.

In his resolution, Sen. Bam noted that Artificial intelligence is one of the emerging technologies emphasized in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, with the government engaging in more collaborative research and development activities and invest in infrastructure buildup.

 The Department of Science and Technology is tasked to develop an AI Program in thePhilippines, particularly to optimize mass production and effective operations in the country’s manufacturing sector.


Try Tech-Voc Courses for Better Employment Chances – Sen. Bam to Students

Amid the rising unemployment rate due to job mismatch, Senator Bam Aquino called on high school and college graduates to try technical-vocational courses because of their high demand on the job market.

“We need to adjust to current demands by the labor sector. If we don’t do that, then we’ll end up at the back of the unemployment line,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino made the call after the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in Southeast Asia, mainly because of job mismatch.

The ILO said the Philippines has an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent compared to six percent by Indonesia and 3.7 percent by Brunei.

Myanmar has an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, Malaysia has 3.2 percent and Singapore has 3.1 percent. At the bottom of the list are Vietnam (1.9 percent), Laos (1.4 percent) Thailand (0.8 percent) and Cambodia (0.3 percent).

According to the latest labor force survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO), unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent or 2.969 million jobless Filipinos from 7.1 percent in January 2013 and 6.5 percent last October.

Aquino said the high number of jobless Filipinos is a result of a surge in new entrants to the labor sector and job mismatch dilemma that has been hounding the country in recent years.

The senator mentioned a recent report from the Department of Labor and Employment, showing that 35.8 percent of applicants were rejected because of lack of competencies.

The senator also cited another DOLE report saying that majority of skills required by 3.8 million job vacancies is technical-vocational related, such as services, information technology and communications.

“Schools produce more four-year college graduates but the current labor market demands for more skills-related workers that can only be filled by technical-vocational graduates,” Aquino stressed.

At the same time, the lawmaker also advised students to dismiss the stigma that goes with technical-vocational courses and instead focus on what career path will give them a brighter future.

Aside from addressing job mismatch, Aquino said the government should strengthen its support on micro, small and medium enterprises to boost employment opportunities.

Aquino recently filed the Youth Entrepreneurship Bill to help address the problem of high unemployment among the youth.

The senator said would-be youth entrepreneurs should be given access to financing, training, market linkages, and other means of support that will help them run and develop their own businesses.


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