Villanueva: Upskill more Filipino workers by expanding training incentives under 'Create'

WITH 7 out of 10 Filipino workers at risk of losing their jobs to automation, upskilling and retooling of workers should be one of the key considerations under the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) bill, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.

Underscoring the inadequacy of job-related training in the country for workers, Villanueva cited data from the 2017 Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment (ISLE) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which shows that only 3 out of 10 workers in the country receive job-related training.

“This pales in comparison to the fact that 7 out of 10 workers are at risk of losing their jobs to automation,” he explained during the plenary debates into the Create bill on Wednesday afternoon, September 30. “Worst, the conduct of training is even more insufficient in sectors that are under threat due to automation.”

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee, went on to illustrate the dismal state of training for workers in the following industries: One out of 10 workers (13 percent) in the sector of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, as well as construction (9.4 percent), while two out of 10 workers in wholesale and retail trade sector (24 percent).

“Higher-level skills are required to thrive in automated work environments. Developing a future-ready Filipino workforce requires upskilling or retooling of workers,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva noted, however, that the incentives under Create may be inadequate to increase the ratio of workers trained.

“Only a few enterprises may be qualified for the packages of incentives under CREATE, but practically all would greatly benefit from training incentives if they are given the option to have it,” the lawmaker said.

To encourage employers to provide training for their workers, Villanueva said he intended to propose expanding the availability of enhanced deductions on training across industries and ensure smooth processing of businesses’ training-related expenses.

“There are jobs or tasks at risk of automation that are present in almost all industries. By making training less costly, we encourage an enterprise to expose its workers to the other processes involved in the business and to retool or upskill them for the skills needed. We encourage the enterprise to give our workers a chance. This way, in fact, we even help the enterprises survive and adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the senator said.

“Doing so also prepares the economy to better brace itself for the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This sends a policy signal to every Filipino worker and employer that it is the policy of the state to support continuous investments in human resource and development,” he added. (SunStar Pampanga)


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