JOINT PRESS RELEASE
11 April 2024

 

NEDA, PCC, USAID host learning session on AI to modernize PH ICT laws

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) teamed up to host a learning session on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for select policymakers and media stakeholders to pursue the modernization of existing ICT laws.

Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the roundtable discussion titled, “Introduction to AI and Emerging Technologies,” provided an overview of emerging AI tech using a hands-on approach for participants to better understand how the technology works.

The session aimed to foster an open dialogue among experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to inform policy development at the Congress. By updating legislation, the government can use and regulate AI so that citizens and businesses can take full advantage of technology in safe and productive ways.

The advent of AI and other emerging technologies ushers in a new era of innovation, possibilities, and challenges. To harness its full potential in boosting socio-economic development, adequate policies must consider its ethical, societal, and governance issues.

PCC Executive Director Kenneth V. Tanate delivers the welcome message of a learning session on AI in Quezon City on April 11, 2024.

In his opening remarks, PCC Executive Director Kenneth V. Tanate expressed hope that the roundtable discussions would enhance understanding of the opportunities and challenges posed by AI.

“Through these sessions, it is my hope that we can weigh the innovative promises of AI while also considering ethical and legal implications these might have on our society. Through careful study and assessment, I believe we can harness the benefits of AI in industries that need such innovation the most, while also tempering whatever unintended negative consequences might come with it,” he said.

Tanate added, “This is why the PCC has sought to be proactive in confronting such issues, assessing how they can both help and harm the country’s competitive business environment.”

In November 2022, the PCC participated in the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) forum on AI, which explored how AI can benefit various sectors including agriculture, finance and healthcare.

Most recently, in November 2023, the PCC hosted the 10th ASEAN Competition Conference where experts delved into the intersections of AI with labor rights, IP rights, and market competition.

Jaemark Tordecilla, a former editor-in-chief at GMA News Online, now a specialist on journalism innovation and digital transformation, led the session as the subject matter expert. He joined remotely from Harvard University in Massachusetts, U.S. where he is currently a fellow. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be effective if it’s just the government telling everyone what needs to be done. Different industries, for example, us in the media, we need to have positions on what we can ask for when we talk to policymakers and regulators about these industries. It’s important to engage the technology companies, to press them on what kind of guardrails they can put into their technologies,” Tordecilla highlighted.

NEDA Undersecretary Krystal Uy gives the closing remarks of a learning session on AI in Quezon City on April 11, 2024.

The introductory roundtable on AI is the first of six sessions to be hosted monthly until September. The series will also feature new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, blockchain, and cloud computing, among others, towards an informed and future-ready legislation in the Philippines.

“It’s imperative to recognize the critical role of ICT policies in enabling the potential of AI and its transformative impact on our work… In our efforts to bridge the digital gap, policies like the Konektadong Pinoy Bill (formerly known as the Open Access in Data Transmission bill) and reforms in spectrum management are crucial. By advocating for these reforms, we aim to ensure that every community, regardless of their location or economic background, can access dependable and high-speed internet services, and take advantage of opportunities enabled by the internet, such as AI,” said NEDA Undersecretary Krystal Uy.

NEDA, PCC, and USAID have been united in advocating to update ICT laws in the Philippines such as the Radio Control Law of 1931 and the Telecommunications Act of 1995. Earlier this year, NEDA and World Bank released separate policy studies that both highlighted the importance of updated ICT laws and called for the immediate passage of the Open Access in Data Transmission or “Konektadong Pinoy” bill for a more competitive ICT sector and, therefore, faster, more reliable, and more affordable internet that will unlock the full economic potential of digitalization for all Filipinos.###

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About NEDA

The National Economic and Development Authority is the country’s premier socioeconomic planning body, highly regarded as the authority in macroeconomic forecasting and policy analysis and research. It provides high-level advice to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch.

About PCC

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is an independent quasi-judicial body mandated to implement the National Competition Policy and enforce Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act (PCA), which serves as the primary law in the Philippines for promoting and protecting market competition.

About USAID 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. USAID’s Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) is a five-year (2021-2026) project aimed at promoting economic growth through better internet in the Philippines.