EMPLOYERS emphasized at a forum the necessity of “Future-proofing” businesses through better initiatives of establishments in improving operations and upskilling workers to prepare for technological advancements also developing locally.

This year’s 40th National Employers Conference discussed how businesses can adapt to various developments prompted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Future proofing businesses and industry is not a mere slogan. It is an urgent and critical issue that congress, workers, and government must address now for the survival of our businesses,” Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) chair Edgardo G. Lacson said for his part.

“Labor and capital must recognize the critical need to move forward as a team, lessen ideological differences, and trustingly engage in each other in future-proofing business and industry. Now is the time for us workers, employers, and government alike to come together…to collaborate and cooperate in harnessing the benefits of (the Fourth Industrial Revolution),” Mr. Lacson also said.

ECoP President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, in turn, said, “More changes and transformation are expected to take place in much more rapid ways. We see right before our eyes new business models and industries are emerging.”

Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo noted that, “In the Philippines, new technologies will affect about 4.5 million jobs, particularly in agriculture and retail and manufacturing. These numbers are threatening and alarming.”

“We need to come together and disrupt systems. We need to adopt fresh, new business models. We must build consensus among organizations and push for a development agenda,” she said, as she cited livelihood opportunities initiated in part by the Office of the Vice-President’s Angat Buhay anti-poverty program.

“Through Angat Buhay, we hope to explore largely untapped wellsprings of Filipino skill and talent by creating jobs and livelihood opportunities, especially for the poor. We hope to increase productivity in the labor sector, and raise the level of technical efficiency through education and innovation. And we are very lucky that the private sector has been very responsive in the work that we do,” Ms. Robredo said. — Gillian M. Cortez