The government is taking steps to address concerns in the labor and industry sectors, as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told foreign investors in a forum.
Participants in the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. forum on Wednesday raised various concerns on social, economic and policy-related challenges in the country.
Among the concerns discussed was the shortage of skilled workers in the country. To help address the issue, Balisacan cited government’s measures to better align education systems and upskilling programs with the needs of the private sector.
He said a significant problem stems from the mismatch between the demands of industries and the skills being developed by educational and training institutions.
He said concrete solutions to the issue include improving access to opportunities for lifelong learning through apprenticeships and increasing investments in Technical and Vocational Education and Training programs.
Balisacan also mentioned the potential for active collaboration with the private sector or industry associations, as they could play a role in assisting education and training institutions to effectively identify and address skill gaps.
A concern was also raised on the Philippine industries that were left behind, such as the textile industry. Balisacan recalled how the Philippine textile industry used to be one of the most competitive industries in the country.
Although other industries have since overtaken textiles, there are ongoing efforts to revive this industry and other industries that have fallen behind global standards. Chapter 6 of the PDP 2023-2028 contains the strategies for revitalizing various industries, including textiles.
The discussion also touched on the effective implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Act and constraints on the entry and operation of foreign business and investments.
Several investors also expressed enthusiasm about the recent policy developments in the Philippines, taking special interest in the country’s recent game-changing reforms to drive investor interest.
Balisacan also presented the various infrastructure projects and investment policy reforms. These included the Build-Better-More Program, proposed amendments to the BOT law and the nation’s development targets.
“These measures have improved the country’s investment environment by opening up key sectors of the economy and clarifying ambiguities in the rules that may have previously discouraged investors from entering,” he said.
Balisacan underscored the important role of public-private partnerships in the nation’s development, especially given the limited fiscal space.
“The public, through public-private partnerships, can benefit from the private sector’s ability to efficiently execute and implement projects, harness new technologies as well as identify and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions in an agile manner,” he said.
The GPCCI is an international business community that promotes bilateral trade by supporting the market entry of German companies and representing Germany as the strongest economic partner in Europe.