The Ayala Corporation and the University of the Philippines School of Economics recently hosted a forum addressing the 4th Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.
Entitled, Catching Up with the 4th Industrial Revolution, the forum aimed to gather the insights of government, the business sector, higher education institutions, as well as TVET agencies, on the impending impacts of Industry 4.0 and explore the possible responses that could be implemented.
The discussants in the forum included Mr. Reynaldo Lugtu of Hungry Workhouse, Dr. Emanuel F. Esguerra of the UP School of Economics, Ms. Rosanna A. Urdaneta of the Technical Skills Education and Skills Development Authority, and Assistant Secretary Alex V. Avila of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Similar to the previous incarnations of industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 is expected to disrupt the current business landscape. New technologies that are emerging at an unprecedented rate have streamlined and made more efficient business operations and production processes. Interconnectedness across national borders have also been further enabled, enhancing collaboration beyond geographical constraints.
However, the advent of Industry 4.0 is also predicted to exacerbate inequalities among countries and lead to massive job losses as certain functions become obsolete. Current labor standards are slowly becoming inapplicable to new industries and occupations being developed.
Some of the key Issues raised in the forum include the ethics of digitization and increased connectivity, as well as the implications of emerging industries and functions to skills development. The necessity of maintaining and promoting flexibility in working arrangements and employment status was also highlighted.
The experts present raised the indispensability of implementing more stringent security measures alongside the adaptation of new technologies in the business process. Soft-skills were also identified as a key priority in skills development, as emotional intelligence, leadership skills, and imagination are what set humans apart from the machines. The importance of contract work and outsourcing was also emphasized as a key component of ensuring competitiveness in Industry 4.0.
The discussion on flexible working arrangements led to a commentary on the rigid and restrictive labor laws currently being implemented. There was a consensus that policies should not prohibit contract work and outsourcing, but should promote it instead.
ECOP Acting President Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. served as a reactor in the event as he explained on the business community’s perspectives on Industry 4.0.