Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo, BusinessWorld
| November 25, 2017, 2:52 PM
Steel bars rise from construction sites in Metro Manila in July 2017 PNA file photo.
MANILA – The Philippines and Japan have agreed to cooperate in training construction workers to help address a shortage in skilled labor in the Philippines.
The two governments recently signed a memorandum of cooperation during the 1st Philippines-Japan Conference on Construction.
Ruth B. Castelo, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group (CEODBG), and Koichi Yoshida, Vice Minister for Land Infrastructure and Hokkaido Development of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) were the signatories.
“This is a mutual commitment between the government of the Philippines and government of Japan to develop the Philippine construction manpower sector,” Castelo told BusinessWorld.
Under the agreement, “they will send Japanese experts in the Philippines to train trainers” as well as directly train workers, she said.
Castelo added that the government will work with Philippine construction companies like DMCI Holdings, Inc. and Makati Development Corp., to facilitate integration of returning overseas workers.
Hidejiro Suzuki, Deputy Director General of MLIT, said in his remarks: “We are expecting our technology and know-how of Japanese companies can surely contribute to your industry.”
Castelo has said that 70% of the work force in the construction industry is unskilled. She said that the cooperation with Japan can help in addressing the problem, as Japanese companies will take in unskilled workers for training.
She added that the shortage of workers is now estimated at 2 million, with 3.863 million construction workers as of July 2017. The shortage was previously estimated at 2.5 million last year.