Contractors need to upgrade for Asean 2015 integration

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Monday, December 30, 2013


PHILIPPINE contractors need to upgrade their skills and workforce to meet the challenges and make the most of opportunities in the upcoming Asean 2015 economic integration.

Philippine Constructors’ Association (PCA) executive director Manolito Madrasto said in a press statement that if Filipino workers fail to step up in terms of skills and competency, they could lose a “substantial slice” of the local market to foreign contractors. He said this does not only apply to general contractors but also sub- and specialty contractors.

Not ready

Madrasto warned against the “bahala na” attitude of Filipinos stressing that “now is not the time for complacency.”

During the dialogue between PCA and the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board last month, both organizations admitted that the Philippine contractors “are not ready” for the implementation of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2015.

With AFTA, licensed Asean contractors will be allowed to engage in construction contracting in the Philippines. Likewise, licensed Filipino contractors will be able to engage in projects in other Asean countries.

“Philippine contractors must upgrade the skills of both themselves and their work forces in order to meet this challenge as the current construction boom is bound to attract a great many foreign contractors who were previously not allowed to carry out construction in the Philippines,” said Madrasto.

Licensing

To increase competitiveness, PCAB chairman Ramon Allado said they are taking steps to improve contractors’ licensing. He announced that the implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) under RA 4566 or the Contractors’ License Law will be amended soon.

The process, according to Allado is on its final stages and has already been submitted to the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines and once approved, will be submitted to the president for signature.

New category

Among the amendments is the introduction of the AAAA category. This requires a capitalization of at least P1 billion and foreign contractors (not limited to Asean) will be issued a regular PCAB license and may enter into contracts of a value in excess of P1 billion.

He said that 12 of the country’s 242 AAA contractors qualify for the AAAA category. Allado said Filipino contractors should be better equipped to deal with foreign contractors starting 2015.

The construction sector is one of Cebu’s highest performing sector.

The latest record from the National Economic and Development Authority Central Visayas
showed that around 4,891 new construction projects were approved in the first semester of 2013 valued at P7.83 billion.

Eighty five percent of approved construction projects were residential buildings and 11 out of 13 projects registered with the Board of Investments in the first semester of 2013 were for mass housing projects with estimated project cost of P3.22 billion.

Cebu business leaders projected that the construction boom will continue in 2014 as private and government agencies will undergo rehabilitation and re-construction efforts particularly in typhoon stricken-areas.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 31, 2013.

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