STARTING this year, all contractors of government infrastructure projects in Cebu City will be required to hire a portion of their workforce from the barangay where the projects will be implemented.

During its regular session yesterday, the Cebu City Council passed the ordinance that requires all private contractors and subcontractors with projects in the city to hire at least 10 percent of their workers from among residents of each barangay where the projects will be built.

“Unemployment remains one of the critical challenges of the country and local governments must strive to help lower unemployment rates in their areas, because when people have jobs, they have a means to live better lives,” said Councilors Alvin Dizon and Nestor Archival Sr., who drafted the ordinance.

Records from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 showed that around 4,891 new construction projects worth some P7 billion were approved in the first semester of 2013.

“According to the Regional Economic Situationer of Neda 7, the construction industry has been booming in Cebu City since 2011, since there are over 30 planned medium and high-rise buildings set to be built between 2011 and 2015,” the ordinance read.

National law

The ordinance complements Republic Act 6685, which requires all contractors to hire some residents of the towns, cities and provinces where they’ll implement government projects.

All contractors that have projects that will start by the third quarter of the year will be covered by the ordinance. However, simple maintenance and repair works that are worth less than P10 million are excluded.

Section 4 of the ordinance also excludes any scientific project of a highly technical nature; all defense and military installations that fall under security requirements; and any public works projects that will be undertaken by the engineering group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

To make sure that the workers are qualified and are residents of the barangay, its officials are tasked to determine who will qualify to work for a certain project. They are also mandated to create a monitoring committee to check on the workers that they have recommended to the contractors.

6 months

In areas such as the South Road Properties (SRP) and North Reclamation Area (NRA), which do not belong to any barangay, the contractors are allowed to hire workers from any of the city’s 80 barangays.

A certificate of compliance will be issued by the barangay captain to the contractor,

after the hiring process.

Under the ordinance, this certificate will be among the requirements before the Office of the Building Official can get a building permit.

After Mayor Michael Rama’s approval of the ordinance, a transitory period of six months will take place. During this period, Dizon said, the City will send teams to the barangays to orient them on their role in enforcing the ordinance.

“This is a good manifestation that the Cebu City Government is serious in complying with the national law,” said Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga.

The ordinance, Sarcauga pointed out, will remind the construction firms to comply with the national law.

“We have been encouraging local government units to comply and we are thankful to Cebu City for setting a good example,” he said. Sarcauga said that DOLE 7 has yet to monitor if there are other LGUs with the same local ordinance.