Legarda: Knowledge economy is the way to go

April 8, 2022

Three-term Senator, now Senatorial Candidate, Loren Legarda recently called on the government to invest in the knowledge economy, saying investing in such would enhance the Filipino workers’ competency and improve their value, especially to international information technology companies.

“Filipinos are already the leaders in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The next step is for them to do not only customer service but also knowledge process outsourcing, or KPO. We have to invest in knowledge economy and keep on advancing the competencies of our workforce by introducing them to software programming and other innovation capabilities. This way, we create a workforce with highly specialized knowledge, making them more adept and qualified, which translates to higher compensation and higher probability of being hired by the world’s best technology companies,” Legarda said.

She cited the country’s information technology (IT) professionals as an example, saying they should not simply do support staff work but also do the programming itself. Support staff in the Philippines usually earn around P15,000 to P17,000 per month, whereas international programmers earn as much as P1 million per month.

“International information technology companies based abroad have not had offices in two years, following prevailing health protocols to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic, so their work can be done from the Philippines. If you train Filipinos in these specialized skills, they would also be able to earn as much as P1 million per month, even from the Philippines, more so now that work is being done remotely,” Legarda said.

Furthermore, Legarda said that “investing in human capital development, especially in education and training of students and the Filipino youth, would help the country produce workers equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to advance research and development in the country, and be at par with its international counterparts.”

“The Filipino youth are the builders of the nation and the future of the country. For us to progress further, we have to empower them and provide them the avenue to hone their knowledge and skills through education and training,” Legarda said.

As the principal author of Republic Act No. 11293, or the Philippine Innovation Act, which aims to promote a culture of strategic planning and innovation to encourage creative thinking and knowledge creation and dissemination toward expanding and maintaining economic competitiveness, the three-term Senator renewed her call to scale up the mainstreaming of innovation as a vital component of the country’s national development and sustainable economic growth.

Legarda has long acknowledged the role of innovation as a vital component of the country’s development policies that will drive the Philippine economy to greater heights, thus she has always promoted an ecosystem that facilitates and supports innovation. Aside from being the principal author of the law creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Legarda also sponsored the allocation for free Wi-Fi access in all SUCs and other public places as then Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance. In the House of Representatives, Legarda filed “One Tablet, One Student Act of 2021” that seeks to provide each public elementary and secondary student as well as students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) a tablet, to enable them to continue learning despite the present conditions of the education sector.

“The government should encourage research and development based on science, innovation, and technology in transforming the Philippines into a competitive nation. Filipinos are naturally cordial and hospitable that is why the country excels in quality customer service. As we observe the rapid technological changes all over the world, we also have to help our people keep up with the advancements and adopt a broader view in developing innovation goals and strategies,” Legarda said.

“Ask any economist which industry we should invest in so we can generate more jobs, and their answer will be where Filipinos have a competitive advantage, that is, the knowledge industries. This is why we have to invest in IT infrastructure and put a premium on human capital development through education and training, especially in technology and innovation,” Legarda concluded.###