(File photo)

MANILA – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar on Thursday announced his plan to partner with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in anticipation of high demand for skilled construction workers once the Pambansang Pabahay program goes full blast.

“Isa po sa nakikita naming problema sa ngayon ang kakulangan sa manggagawa kapag nag-full blast na ang ating construction (One of the problems we notice at present is the lack of enough workers when our construction goes full blast). We have a problem with availability of skilled workers,” Acuzar said.

Acuzar said the problem must be addressed while there is still time.

He said the full implementation of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s "Pambansang Pabahay" program is expected to generate nearly 2 million jobs among Filipino skilled workers and laborers.

Acuzar earlier said about 1.7 million jobs -- especially construction workers -- per year would be generated once the Pambansang Pabahay commences its groundwork.

“Significant number of jobs would be created and the situation is seen to contribute in the administration’s post-pandemic recovery efforts and in furtherance of the 8-point economic agenda of the Marcos administration,” he said.

As of Feb. 15, DHSUD has broken ground for 17 housing projects with various local government units and signed 70 memorandums of understanding under the Pambansang Pabahay.

He said he initiated talks with TESDA Director General Danilo Cruz as early as October last year as part of a proactive measure to prepare construction workers for the workforce requirements in housing project development.

“Nakikipag-ugnayan na po kami sa TESDA para sa training… ng mga skilled workers -- karpentero, plumber, electrician at para sa finishing touches ng mga mason. Kaya kami po ay nakikipag-usap sa TESDA para magkaroon ng training para sa kanila (We’ve been coordinating already with the TESDA for the training…of the skilled workers -- carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and of the mason for the finishing touches,” he said.

Acuzar said TESDA has supported the department’s effort to augment the housing and construction industries’ present workforce as well as improve the workers’ skills.

“Right now, we are looking at all angles and aspects to prepare for the beginning of the actual implementation of the Pambansang Pabahay on the ground. We are fast-tracking construction so that we can adjust to the projected increase in cost. We need enough workers to ensure that we build and provide the houses on time for our kababayans,” Acuzar said. (PNA)