PHL has capacity, needs right policies, in shift to 4th industrial revolution

SINGAPORE—The right economic policies will fast-track the Philippines’s transition to the fourth industrial revolution, according to energy and automation multinational Schneider Electric.

In a news briefing here at Marina Bay Sands, Schneider Electric Zone President for East Asia and Japan Tommy Leong argued that the Philippines can expedite its transition to digitization only if the government focuses on it. He added the country has the capacity to expand digitally given its being an exporter of electronic products and semiconductors.

“The Philippines and Vietnam are very much alike. They have good economic expansion, good economic growth, and I believe, like Vietnam, the Philippines can adapt to the fourth industrial revolution at a faster pace,” Leong said.

Citing the case of China, Leong explained any country can opt to digitize its economy if the government applies its political will to it.

“If you look at how China became digital, they actually jumped to digitization, skipping some processes of the third industrial revolution,” he said.

“With the right economic policies, right initiative, right government reforms, digitization can be achieved. The Philippines can do just the same,” Leong added. The Schneider Electric official also shared he was at the World Economic Forum (WEF) last week, where Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez discussed the country’s response to the fourth industrial revolution.

At the WEF, Lopez played down fears that digitization might result in thousands of workers being displaced. He said it is to the contrary, as the transformation of an economy might even generate more employment opportunities.

“Rather than replacing people and bringing down employment, technology creates new, higher-paying jobs. For example, the entry of ATMs was expected to replace bank tellers and bring down employment figures, but business and employment growth continued and there were just adjustments in the nature of jobs,” Lopez said. At the WEF, countries reportedly agreed to shift government transactions to online, as well as reskill their people to adapt to recent global economic changes.


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