Share |

Thousands of Bicol construction workers lose jobs

LEGAZPI CITY (Dec 18, 2011) – The government’s policy of witholding infrastructure spending has taken its toll on thousands of construction workers whose employers are highly dependent on government projects in the Bicol region.

Elizabeth Del Castillo, owner of the Garcia Construction and concurrent vice-president of the Association of Bicol Contractors (ABC), said that 300 government-accredited contractors belonging to their organization that used to employ 6000 workers on aggregate have been forced to lay off 90 percent of their workforce because of scarcity of government infrastructure projects being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) .

Early this week, Bicol contractors aired their sentiments before the local press during the 2-day “Authorized Managing Officers” (AMO) training-workshop seminar conducted by the National Contractors Association of the Philippines Inc. and the Association of Bicol Contractors (ABC).

Del Castillo said the prevailing crisis in the construction industry is a national malady among public works contractors nationwide, adding that in Bicol alone nearly 6,000 recently jobless laborers in the construction industry will have a bleak Christmas.

The said mass lay-off of workers that will hit hard on as many as 60,000 people including family members and dependents of the construction workers shall increase the poverty incidence in the region, Del Castillo claimed.

Albay contractor Jose Rañola stressed “that government spending in public projects is a major factor to roll-up the country’s economy,” adding that many contractors and suppliers of construction materials are closing shops,. Rañola said.

ABC officials claim the domino effect of the low government spending on infrastructure projects is not good for the economy.

The contractors are now seeking dialogue with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to air their appeal to the national government to address the pressing issue of the depressed state of the construction industry in the country. (SONNY SALES)