By Paolo Julian
The Philippines remains at the back-end of the semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, according to the largest organization of electronics and semiconductor companies in the country.
The industry needs to move beyond test and assembly and reposition the Philippines up the global electronics value chain,? said Dr. Dan C. Lachica, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI).
Lachica made the comment as SEIPI wrapped up on Friday, June 23, its 14th Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE), the annual electronics trade show and convention of the leading electronic firms in the country and its suppliers.
?There is a huge opportunity to improve the science and technology, and engineering curricula to support the industry?s need to progress and keep up with the global technology trends,? he said, adding that more MS/PhD graduates of sciences and mathematics are needed.
However, there is a lack of supply at the moment. The electronics industry operates in a very fast paced environment as it is technology- driven, he said.
Lachica said a fresh graduate takes about an average of two years before he or she can contribute value-add to the company. The electronics industry has always been strong in assembly, test and packing services, but these are all back-end processes.
One of the Philippines? advantages as a preferred investment destination is the availability of its skilled workforce and its short learning curve, according to industry reports.
?In spite of this, there is still a gap between what talents the industry need vs what the academe is producing,? SEIPI said in a statement.
The group said the government must act quickly to improve the engineering curriculum to match the industry?s needs. At the same time, the industry should open itself to the academe so that faculties can be immersed to new technologies, it added.
The three-day PSECE trade show featured country models of industry-academe-government linkages comparing it with the local setting. The aim was to encourage government, private sector and academe links and promote talent development, innovation and support to education.
It was the first time in PSECE that SEIPI partnered with academe, Lachica said, pointing to this year?s partner companies, Fastech Advanced Assembly and the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities.
?The industry calls for a multilateral collaboration with the government, the academe, and key stakeholders to advance the Philippines? competitive edge in human capital, considering the continuing technological advancement in the digital era,? Lachica said.
?We know that one of this country?s assets is our workforce, so let us invest on them and let us talk on how to do that together.?
For the first time at the trade show, China had a pavilion led by the Shenzhen Electronics Chamber of Commerce, joining exhibitors Taiwan, Germany and Singapore which participate in the trade show every year. A parts localization pavilion also displayed items that manufacturing semiconductor and electronics firms want to procure locally.
SEIPI also hosted the Asian Electronics Forum attended by Asia?s electronics industry organizations. ?We hope to be able to establish closer economic ties, promote industry standards and regulations, and enhance the status and influence of the electronics industry,? Lachica said.