To speed up the government’s infrastructure project dubbed as Build, Build Build (BBB), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is planning to cut down deployment of construction workers abroad as much as 90 percent.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, there is an urgent need of construction workers in the country and this is the reason why they have slowed down the deployment of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) particularly in the sector of construction. Bello confirms that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has started slowing down the process of deployment since last year and plans to continue up to three years or until the end of President Duterte’s term.
Due to manpower shortage, Bello said, construction industry asked the DOLE to temporarily cease the deployment of construction workers abroad. But the Labor chief clarified that POEA did not impose a ban on deployment but merely slowed down the process.
Bello added the Philippines is in need of 800,000 to 1 million skilled workers including architects, engineers, and laborers for BBB project implementation up to the year 2022.
The labor chief said he also requested the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to ease the requirements in the hiring of workers for the BBB projects so that many workers can apply and be hired for the implementation of the projects.
The plan angers some OFWs that said salary in the Philippines is too low compared to what they earned while working abroad. For his part, Bello claimed that skilled laborers in the country currently earn more than the minimum wage of P537 in Metro Manila. He added that their average earning now is P800 to P1,000 a day because of their on-demand service.