Participants from the academe, government, and petrochemical industry discuss recommendations to improve job-skills matching and academe-industry linkages for petrochemical industry.

The Academe-Industry Dialogue for Petrochemical Industry, conducted on March 24, 2021 via Zoom videoconference, is the fourth installment in a series of dialogues for priority industries organized by the CALABARZON RDC Special Committee on Strengthening Academe and Industry Linkages.  

The Dialogue featured presentations on human resource trends and future of the Philippine petrochemical industry, responses from private, academe, and government sector and focus group discussions (FGDs) to thresh out issues and come up with corresponding recommendations to improve job-skills matching and academe-industry linkages.

On industry trends and prospects, Ms. Maria Theresa A. Cortes, Vice President for Human Resources of JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation (JGSPC) reported that there was a drop in applications during the start of the pandemic in 2020 but job seeker behavior has eventually picked up. She added that aside from the usual technical skills required by the industry, the emerging competencies are in systems automation, digitalization, and data analytics for digitalization and operational excellence projects. Furthermore, Ms. Cortes shared that jobs abroad remain the biggest threat of the petrochemical industry on talent retention.

Meanwhile, Engr. Maria Veron M. Marasigan, Manager on for Business Development of JGSPC, highlighted the importance of plastics, a product of the industry, by saying that plastic actually supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals through increasing yields in agriculture and aquaculture, and reducing food waste. She said that plastics is not the problem but poor waste management. If waste is mismanaged, even alternatives to plastics may worsen pollution.  

On his response to the presentations, Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, President of Batangas State University, emphasized the need for the academe to provide programs that would be responsive to the requirements of the petrochemical industry. Moreover, the outputs of the FGDs underscored the need to re-engineer the curriculum to match industry demand, identify innovative solutions on industry immersion of students and faculty amid the pandemic, and to strengthen meaningful collaborations between academe, government agencies, and industry partners.

In her closing message, NEDA Assistant Regional Director Gina T. Gacusan noted the importance of the petrochemical industry as it enables other industries to flourish. Thus, it is critical to follow through on the actions taken on the identified recommendations in the dialogue.

Around 90 participants from the academe, government, and petrochemical industry in and outside the CALABARZON participated in the dialogue.  

The recommendations generated during the activity will be presented in the RDC Special Committee on Strengthening Academe-Industry Linkages for later endorsement to concerned offices or agencies through the RDC.

Marlon T. Natividad, NEDA Region IV-A | March 25, 2021