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Mindanao construction boom to pull migrants back from Manila

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The boom in Mindanao’s construction sector is seen to potentially “pull” migrants in the congested Philippine capital to return home, industry leaders said Tuesday, September 5.

With the rise of public and private investments in the south, "the boom will help unclog Metro Manila," said Patrick-Lawrence Tan, chief executive officer of Global-Link MP Events International (GLMP).

GLMP has looked closely into the country’s construction industry as it organizes major trade events financed by the said sector. These events include the Philconstruct expo of the Philippine Constructors Association.

Michael Te, president of Davao Constructors Association Center Incorporarted, also noted an imbalance between the supply of manpower and the demand for it, given the growing number of developments on the island.

“There is now a shortage of manpower,” Te told reporters here.

Construction is the country’s largest employing industry subsector, accounting for 47.7% in April 2017, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

In the same period, Mindanao had a lower unemployment rate at 4%, in contrast to the national rate of 5.7%.

A number of the top contractors identified by the Department of Finance and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are based in Mindanao.

Davao-based Victente T. Lao Construction’s projects with DPWH amounted to P13.5 billion in 2012, followed by Butuan City’s Equi-Parco Construction Company at P13.6 billion, Ozamiz City’s Grace Construction Corporation at P13.2 billion, and Davao City’s Ulticon Builders Incorporated at P4.1 billion. 

The World Bank reported that Manila had the highest spike in concentration of urban population at 13,000 people per square kilometer in 2015, from 11,900 in 2010. Concentration of urban development in urban cities would not translate to inclusive growth, it said.

The government has pledged to spend trillions until 2022 to restore crumbling roads and bridges, glitch-ridden trains, as well as airports across the country. Under the “Build, Build, Build” program, Mindanao will get a P32-billion railway network that will connect Davao, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and General Santos. – Rappler.com