Interview: Fortunato T de la Peña
How can the Philippines ensure its workforce is prepared for the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)?
FORTUNATO DE LA PEÑA: There are more than 140,000 engineering and IT graduates per year, and the approach of the 4IR will present them with ample opportunities. While many of these graduates are currently employed by the business process outsourcing sector, they can readily switch to robotics, automation, data science and so forth, since they have the talent. We have adopted a whole-of-government approach in ensuring that our workforce is prepared for the 4IR. Government agencies have bridging programmes in place to hone the skills that will be needed in such an environment.
Where do you see room for improvement in the Philippines’ innovation ecosystem?
DE LA PEÑA: An innovation ecosystem is already in place. We have incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, universities, service providers, partner corporations, media, funders, angel investors, as well as support organisations from the public and private sector. Interconnecting these sectors requires a major undertaking to improve the country’s competitiveness in the 4IR. A better system of market research and analysis would definitely help. We also need to regularly revisit our incentive policies, especially for entrepreneurs and researchers in the ecosystem. Additionally, all necessary infrastructure should be in place and well maintained.
How do you assess the role of local-foreign partnerships in accelerating the growth of start-ups?
DE LA PEÑA: Local-foreign partnerships have gaps, especially in regard to policies surrounding the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology. With policies in place, the growth of local start-ups will be accelerated, granting access to international markets and foreign partners. On the government level these policies can be formulated in the regional groupings such as ASEAN or APEC.
What key obstacles will the new Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S) likely face, and in which areas does the Philippines have a competitive edge?
DE LA PEÑA: The key obstacles that i3S is likely to face are non-alignment of supply and demand in human resources, risk aversion by financial institutions, very traditional investment priorities or preferences among local capitalists, and slow countryside development.
The Philippines has a competitive edge in electronics in terms of human resources, but investors in high value-added activities like integrated circuit design and product development are needed. IT and business process management, aerospace, auto and auto parts, tourism, furniture, garments and creative arts are areas in which the country can also have a competitive edge. Agri-business could also be a growth area if we harness all available technologies for agriculture and maximise the use of agricultural resources.
Given the high smartphone penetration rates and data consumption patterns, how will e-commerce evolve in the short to medium term?
DE LA PEÑA: E-commerce will take over traditional commerce in the medium term, and software development will flourish in the short term. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ launch of InstaPay, an electronic fund transfer system that allows for instant transactions, will accelerate online trade and payment procedures.
What role can new digital technologies play in facilitating growth in tourism?
DE LA PEÑA: Digital technologies can facilitate growth in the tourism sector by making it easier for tourists to figure out where to go, what to do, what the costs are, and so on. Visitors should have an accurate idea of what to expect when they travel to the Philippines and how best to enjoy our country and its plentiful offerings. Digital technologies should also allow for the convenient transition between business and leisure travel.
Read More from OBG
The Philippines and ESG: An opportunity to unlock inclusive socio-economic growth?
The Philippine roadmap for inclusive, balanced, long-term growth is aligned with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Future growth: Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, on developing technology talent
Interview: Sarah Al Amiri How can the intersection of advanced technology and public education influence economic growth? SARAH AL AMIRI: The UAE is building a digital, knowledge-based economy in line with its vision for the next 50 years. Advanced technology and education are fundamental pillars of this effort, and they are two of the government’s key priorities because of their power to transform the economy. Integrating advanced technology into public education equips students with the ne…
Driving ESG in Ghana’s mining industry
In this Global Platform video, Oxford Business Group speaks with Edward Koranteng, CEO, Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), on Ghana’s mining industry. While Ghana is Africa’s largest gold producer, it has yet to fully benefit from its resources compared to countries with similar output. The government aims to enhance the country’s global competitiveness by investing in projects focused on extracting minerals such as salt and lithium, while simultaneously bolstering ESG pract…
“High-Level Discussions are Under Way to Identify How We Can Restructure Funding For Health Care Services”
Popular Sectors in Philippines
- The Philippines Agriculture
- The Philippines Construction
- The Philippines Economy
- The Philippines Financial Services
- The Philippines ICT
- The Philippines Industry
Popular Countries in Education
- Djibouti Education
- Nigeria Education
- Brunei Darussalam Education
- The Philippines Education
- Qatar Education
- UAE: Abu Dhabi Education
Recent Reports in The Philippines