Lack of skilled workers delays Build program, Duterte says

Feb. 17, 2019

DAVAO CITY , Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte disclosed that the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program has been delayed and blamed it on the shortage of skilled workers.

“Kaya ‘yang Build, Build, Build medyo atrasado ng konti. Walang trabahante. Eh, marami tayong Pilipino. Kung wala naman, hindi naman tayo magtulungan, eh ‘di wala (That’s why the Build, Build, Build has been delayed. There are no workers, even if we are many, but we are not cooperating),” Duterte said in a speech during a proclamation rally in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.

The program aims to spend around $158 billion over the next five years for ports, airports, roads, railways, energy facilities, irrigation systems, and flood control facilities.

The infrastructure program is being financed in part by proceeds from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law. The infrastructure program is part of government’s overriding objective to accelerate infrastructure development and ensure efficient governance under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

However, Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao branded Duterte’s statement as “a twisted point of view” as he blamed the delay on the government policies and programs instead.

“The whole government economic policy is flawed, no national industry, import-dependent manufacturing, export-oriented and backward agriculture, these all lead to majority of the workers becoming semi-workers, or with no secured tenure, easily disposable, or generally what the neoliberals want it to be as flexible,” Casilao said in a press statement.

He added that the country has adequate labor pool for the construction sector but it “is hounded by contractualization of labor, decreasing the number of workers with developed skills and mastery”.

The lawmaker said the very policy of flexible labor “is detrimental to skills development of the workers”.

“Even the President recognized that when he promised to end endo,” he said.

“We should not be even considering to tolerate this issue, when we should be holding the government accountable for the continued joblessness, contractualization and low wages, these are all anti-Filipino, anti-worker measures,” he said.(Christine Grace Varron Sabute ,HCDC intern/

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