Friday, 6 February 2009

Philippine gov't hiring 500,000 for construction

By Joel E. Zurbano
The Manila Standard
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=news4_feb6_2009

THE Public Works Department will hire half a million laborers this year as part of the government’s pump-priming program to soften the impact of the economic crisis.

“These people will be hired to work for 3,414 infrastructure projects nationwide,” Public Works Senior Undersecretary Manuel Bonoan said.

He said 80 percent of the workers would be hired directly by local governments to harness the labor force in the communities where the projects are located, while the remaining 20 percent would be hired by project operators or contractors.

Bonoan said the program would begin in February or March, once the bidding for the projects was completed.

“This is part of our pump-priming program all over the country and P60 billion is allocated for this. That is only 60 percent of our total budget. The remaining 40 percent will be used for other projects for the rest of the year.”

Bonoan said the workers would be hired as engineers, foremen, carpenters and helpers and “anything that has something to do with construction.”

Undersecretary Ramon Aquino said most of the projects were part of the Super Regions program mentioned by President Arroyo in her State-of the-Nation Address.

Of the 3,414 projects, 554 are in Central Luzon worth P7.791 billion, but the biggest project is in Mindanao.

Some of the priority projects are the Baler-Casiguran road, which will cost P1.683 billion; the rehabilitation, improvement, and widening of Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Aurora-Dingalan port road amounting to P821.076 million; all in Region 3; the concreting of Marikina-Infanta road in Quezon worth P958 million; the construction and rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway and other major roads in Metro Manila amounting to P300 million; the construction of C5 extension which will cost P250 million; the widening of Bontoc-Banaue Section in Ifugao amounting to P224.5 million; the concreting of Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road, and Tinglayan Lubuagan-Tabuk Section II that will cost P1.773 billion.

The decongestion of Metro Manila and other urban areas are among the priorities.

The department said its infrastructure program would augment government efforts to establish a strong foundation for the economy and to counter the threat of a recession.

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