In order to address the enormous need of construction workers for the many different projects of both government and private sectors in the country, DOLE has planned to cut down the deployment of laborers for overseas jobs.
According to Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the urgency of the need for construction workers for local projects has forced the department to slow down the deployment overseas. As the shortage worsens, DOLE is now looking to reduce about 80 to 90 percent of laborer deployment.
Although there is no imposition of a ban in the deployment yet, POEA for its part has slowed down the processing of deployment overseas for laborers since last year. This is in response to the appeal of the construction industry to temporarily cease the deployment of construction workers to address the manpower shortage.
The slowdown in deployment of construction workers, Bello said, may last for three years or until the end of President Duterte’s term.
Based on POEA data, deployment of civil engineering laborers dropped from 7,718 in 2016 to 5,295 in 2017 while welders went down from 7,437 to 5,141 in the same period.
The total deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) posted a 3.19 percent decline from 2,112,331 in 2016 to 2,044,877 in 2017.
Bello admitted that vacancies in construction cannot be filled because of job and skills mismatch. This prevailing concern further contributes to the shortage of manpower in the construction industry. There is a request for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to accelerate its training program in order to upgrade the skills of the country’s workers to be able to operate modern equipment as used at present.
Bello has also requested the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works and Highways to ease the requirements in hiring of workers for the government’s Build Build Build projects.
Concerning request to increase the pay of construction workers, Bello said the DOLE will leave this to the country’s economic managers to decide.