MANILA - The government has to move with "urgency" to protect the 1.4 million Filipinos working in the business process outsourcing industry who might be displaced by the industry's shift to artificial intelligence, a lawmaker said.
Possible job losses "might be higher" than the 44,000 estimated by an industry group last year, Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Science Committee, said after a hearing on Monday.
The government should offer scholarships and vouchers from the Technical Education and Skill Development Authority to help BPO workers take advantage of new job opportunities with AI, Aquino said.
"I want to see some urgency in our government agencies to really move it forward," Aquino said.
"Whether or not mangyari yung pagkawala ng trabaho sahil sa AI o hindi, kailangan natin i-move up yun. These are higher-paying jobs," he said.
(Whether or not job losses due to AI happen, we need to move them up. These are higher-paying jobs.)
Higher-skilled workers are also harder to remove from their posts, Aquino said.
Aquino said the main BPO industry group would submit an updated roadmap when the Senate science committee resumes hearings on the matter in April.