NEDA: PH must reap labor gains from 'Build, Build, Build'

MANILA -- With the expected effect of the government’s unprecedented “Build, Build, Build” program on the country’s labor demand, the government must ensure that laborers’ skills and competencies match industry needs, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“To fully maximize gains from Build, Build, Build, the Philippine labor market should be ready to meet the infrastructure program’s requirements. Bodies governing the education and labor sectors have a crucial role in this,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

Pernia said key government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should coordinate with industries to identify appropriate skills for construction-related activities.

NEDA projects that the infrastructure campaign of the Duterte administration will create an average of 1.1 million jobs annually, mostly from the construction sector.

For 2018, NEDA expects around 820,000 jobs to be generated with a number of infrastructure projects breaking ground.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Labor Force Survey, 2017 saw around 420,000 new jobs in construction, a 13.2 percent increase from the previous year’s figure.

Pernia noted that the labor demand can be best met if education programs like the K to 12, which added two years to the country’s basic education cycle, will produce a more appropriately-trained and skilled workforce.

“The K to 12 program requires a strong academe-industry linkage to prepare students after graduation. Build, Build, Build presents real opportunities for those in search of work,” Pernia said.

Similarly, Pernia stressed that attention should also be given to returning overseas Filipino workers who are skilled or need re-training to be absorbed in the construction industry.

NEDA likewise proposed that all job requirements of the Build, Build, Build program be posted on, the Philippine government’s official online job site so that returning OFWs are kept abreast of new opportunities in the country.

“Apart from closing the country’s infrastructure gap, our aim is to create many employment opportunities and assist Filipino families in achieving the kind of life that they desire,” Pernia said. (NEDA/PR)