The Philippine government is “doing something” about the country’s shortage of manpower in technical services, the Palace said on Friday after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that his administration’s mega infrastructure program has been delayed.
In his speech during the initial campaign rally of the ruling PDP-Laban party, Duterte said the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program has been stalled because of the lack of manpower.
“The construction has been delayed because we don’t have the manpower,” Duterte said, referring to the country’s lack of electricians, carpenters, and plumbers.
According to the President, most of the Filipino construction workers already went to the Middle East for greener pastures.
“That’s why that ‘Build, Build, Build’ was delayed a little. There are no workers, but there are a lot of Filipinos. If we don’t help each other, then nothing [would happen],” he said.
Malacañang assured the public that the government has been taking steps to address the issue.
Panelo said the President already directed Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Isidro Lapeña to fill in the void left by Filipino construction workers overseas.
“He directed the TESDA Chief to do something about it because we are lacking in experts in carpentry, welding, and other technical [jobs],” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
The Palace official also said the President stressed the need to have a deep bench of construction workers.
“That’s why he told the TESDA to have a deeper bench for carpenters, welders, and electrician because many of them are going abroad,” he said. “But in other words, we are doing something about it.”
In his 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda, the President said he hopes to boost the acceleration of infrastructure and the development of industries that will “increase the productive capacity of the economy, create jobs, increase incomes, and strengthen the investment climate leading to sustained inclusive growth.”
The Duterte administration views infrastructure as one of its top priorities, with public spending on infrastructure projects targeted to reach 8 to nine trillion pesos from 2017-2022.