By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The Senate approved on the third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1834, or the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act, which aims to prepare the Filipino workforce for the jobs of the future through education and training on digital skills.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, principal author and principal sponsor of the measure, said that the law supports the need for the Filipino workforce to be globally competitive with the development of digital careers amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution
“Life is digital. Kailangan po tayong makipagsabayan. We need to catch up and jump on board because the movement to digital life is fast and real. Kailangan po natin ng legal framework or paradigm na magtatahi o magsisinsin ng lahat ng efforts at initiatives ng pamahalaan para sa digital competitiveness ng manggagawang Pilipino,” said Villanueva.
S.B. No. 1834 establishes an Inter-Agency Council for Development and Competitiveness of Philippine Digital Workforce that will lead the promotion, development and enhancement of the competitiveness of the country’s digital workforce through various initiatives, as well as encourage digital innovation and entrepreneurship. Working under a unified government framework, the Inter-Agency Council will be led by the National Economic Development Authority, and will be comprised of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Under the proposed law, the government may enter into public-private partnerships with industry experts, IT-BPO associations, private companies, and other stakeholders to plan and implement training, skills development, and certification programs for digital careers.
The bill mandates that local government units, with the help of Public Employment Service Offices, should formulate local policies that support and promote the growth and development of digital technology as well as digital careers and innovations in their respective communities.
The chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development said that S.B. No. 1834 is the latest measure that refines and attunes the country’s employment and education policies with the opportunities brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Villanueva was the main proponent of laws that support such policy, such as the Telecommuting or Work From Home Law, Philippine Qualifications Framework Law, and the Philippine Labor Force Competencies Competitiveness Program or Tulong Trabaho Law. (ai/mtvn)