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Salceda says PH may import skilled workers from China and Burma

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Representative Joey Salceda said Monday, April 30, that the Philippines  is considering importing skilled construction workers from China and Burma once the so-called 'golden age of infrastructure program' of the Duterte administration or Build Build Build gets into in full swing.

Salceda, vice chairman of the committee on appropriations said the Philippines is short of 3.9 million skilled construction workers to support the centerpiece project of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Barring any hitch, the Albay lawmaker said the government’s massive construction program will kickstart this year.

“We need 3.9 skilled labor force which we cannot supply. The Philippines is considering of importing skilled labor force in China and Burma. We are facing labor constraints as the growing demand for laborers like welders, carpentry, masonry and related skilled work construction could not be provided due to lack of training,” the Albay lawmaker said.

He said the construction industry needs more workers for the government’s infrastructure program and the demand could not be addressed by the K to 12 graduates unless they undergo Tesda training.

“We need construction workers which could not be provided by K to 12 graduates. That’s why those K to 12 graduates who want to work now need to undergo Tesda training to meet and fit the need of construction industry,” the lawmaker said.

He said that the massive construction of government infrastructure projects will start this year after the Duterte administration through the National Economic and Development Authority  allocated P1-trillion for 26 major infrastructure projects which include construction of the  Bicol International Airport in Alobo, Daraga Albay.

Salceda said the Daraga project is targetted to be operational by 2020.

To address the country's skilled labor shortage, Salceda said that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) must remodel and train the country’s labor force. He said the demand of the construction industry will start this year until 2022.

He said that government allocated P7 billion for TESDA-run technical vocational institutions (TVIs) to finance free education to the country’s youth who would like to undergo short term training to gain  work in blue collar job.

‘The role of TVIs is very critical to meet our growing demand for skilled workers, so the government allocated P7 billion to train our new and young labor force. This year alone the construction projects are underway that’s why TESDA is very critical to address the 3.9 million skilled workers needed,” the lawmaker said. – Rappler.com