The Philippines Takes the Lead in Regulating Artificial Intelligence
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Martin Romualdez, the Speaker of the Philippines’ Congress, made a significant announcement regarding the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Romualdez proposed the development of a legal framework for AI regulation, drawing from the Philippines’ own draft legislation on the subject. This move highlights the growing importance of AI and cybersecurity in the digital economy and aims to foster regional collaboration in digitization and cybersecurity within economic policies.
Romualdez’s initiative comes as a response to the rapid advancements and applications of generative AI, which have the potential to revolutionize industries globally. The proposed legal framework aims to govern the use of AI technology while balancing innovation and mitigating risks. It also seeks to address the challenges faced by the Philippines’ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, which plays a significant role in the nation’s economy.
The Philippines’ push for a structured AI regulatory framework stands in contrast to ASEAN’s current approach, which leans towards a business-friendly model with less emphasis on compliance. This difference highlights the diverse rules governing censorship, intellectual property, misinformation, and internet use within the region.
The Philippines’ BPO sector is particularly vulnerable to the advancements in AI technology. Romualdez emphasized the need to transform and upskill personnel in order to meet the demands of an AI-enabled economy. The proposed legal framework aims to not only address the needs of the Philippines but also to be suitable for the entire ASEAN region, promoting regional cooperation in the face of technological advancements.
This announcement by Romualdez reflects a global trend where regulators are rapidly trying to draft regulations to manage the use of generative AI. As this emerging technology gains more attention, countries around the world are seeking ways to strike a balance between innovation and regulation in order to harness its potential while minimizing risks.
The Philippines’ proactive approach in presenting a legal framework for AI regulation to ASEAN in 2026 positions the nation as a leader in the region. This move sets an example for other countries to follow in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in the digital economy. It also demonstrates the importance of regional collaboration in navigating the complexities of AI governance.