THE shortage of skilled workers was a hindrance to the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects under the government's "Build, Build, Build" program, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted Thursday, February 14.
In a speech delivered in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, Duterte said the government's infrastructure projects are facing delay because of lack of skilled workers.
"Itong 'Build, Build, Build,' medyo atrasado. Walang trabahante (We lack skilled workers, causing delay in the 'Build, Build, Build' program)," he said during the proclamation and kick-off rally of his political party, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
Duterte's admission came amid the influx of Chinese nationals who ended up as workers in the country, most of them ended up getting jobs from the construction industry.
Malacañang had said the growing number of Chinese migrant workers in the Philippines should not be a cause for concern, if they have undergone a "lawful" process.
Malacañang had also explained that more Chinese workers had to be hired, because Filipinos skilled to construction works opt to seek jobs overseas.
In a press conference held Friday, February 15, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the current administration, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), was already acting on the supposed shortage of skilled construction workers.
"He (Duterte) directed the Tesda chief to do something about kasi we are lacking in experts in carpentry, welding. 'Yung mga technical. Kulang eh. Marami ho tayong mga taong hindi empleyado, whether sa gobyerno o kampanya kasi hindi naman sila qualified, lalo na 'yung mga vocational, lalo na sa construction," the Palace official said.
(Duterte directed the Tesda chief to do something about kasi we are lacking in experts in carpentry, welding. We lack people who know about technical works. There are many unemployed Filipinos, whether in government or private sector, but they are not qualified, especially when it comes to construction).
"In other words, we're doing something about it. That is the response," he added.
On February 7, Palace also signed Memorandum Circular 57, directing all government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities to ensure "timely" completion of infrastructure projects.
The order was directed to all government offices, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), government financial institutions (GFIs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local government units (LGUs).
MC 57 ordered all heads and concerned officials and employees of departments, bureaus, and offices, including GOCCS, GFIs, SUCs, and LGUs, to strictly observe the laws, issuances, and policies on timely completion of government infrastructure projects, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions for infractions and violations thereof. (SunStar Philippines)