MANILA, Philippines – Some 500,000 jobs in various infrastructure projects all over the country will be available for workers, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The DPWH is set to enter into a landmark memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and two groups of contractors on Feb. 23 to provide employment as part of President Arroyo’s job generation program.
The job application and hiring will start on Monday. The DPWH will start entertaining applicants at 8 a.m.
DPWH Undersecretary for Luzon Ramon Aquino said yesterday this was the first time they would enter into an MOA with the DOLE, the National Constructors Association of the Philippines (NACAP) and Philippine Construction Association (PCA).
In the memorandum, the DPWH will serve as the conduit between the contractors and the job applicants and will assess the job seeker’s capabilities and work assignment.
“We would know the expertise of the applicant and match them with the needs of the contractors,” Aquino said.
The labor department’s task, on the other hand, is to ensure that the hired workers’ rights, salaries and other benefits are well protected.
The signatories in the memorandum are Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, NACAP president Willy Castor and PCA president Anthony Fernandez.
The DPWH has been busy preparing for its job generation programs, which fall under the government’s economic stimulus program. It aims to provide employment to workers, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) displaced by the global economic crisis.
“The nationwide jobs fair aims to provide gainful employment to workers displaced or affected by the current global recession. The jobs fairs shall also provide fiscal stimulus to spur economic growth in the locality as employment shall increase spending power and probable opportunity to save, among others,” the DPWH said.
Statistics from the labor department showed that some 40,000 people have already lost their jobs from October 2008 to January 2009.
Aquino said that 30 percent of the 500,000 required workers would be skilled workers, another 50 percent unskilled workers. The remaining 20 percent would come from the construction firms.
The applicants will be assigned to projects in their own localities to spare them from the high costs of transportation and board and lodging.
Aquino admitted this is one of the agency’s biggest job generation undertakings. In 2007, some 300,000 people were hired, while in 2008, less than 500,000 people gained employment.
In the DPWH central office, booths will be set up for their regional offices in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, and the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces). Some contractor firms are also expected to set up their booths.
For the next 10 months, the DPWH have lined up 4,000 to 5,000 projects of which 1,200 have already been bid out. For the first semester of this year, the DPWH has set aside P60 billion and for the second half, P48 billion has been earmarked.
The DPWH’s 16 Regional Offices nationwide will also hold their simultaneous job fairs on Monday to cater to local residents.
The employed workers will construct, maintain, repair, and rehabilitate 29,925.96 kilometers of national roads. They will also build and fix existing bridges, school buildings, farm-to-market roads and flood control projects. The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will identify the projects for school buildings and farm-to-market roads, respectively.
There will be job openings for civil engineers, foremen, surveyors, masons, painters, steelmen, operators of heavy equipment, drivers, carpenters and other positions. They will also hire 27,222 people every month from the Out of School Youth Serving Toward Economic Recovery (OYSTER) to work as street sweepers, roadside, traffic, and shoulder maintenance crew.
Those hired under the OYSTER program will work under a contractual scheme for six months, and when their contract expires they will be transferred to another construction site where they would be prioritized, Aquino said.–Evelyn Macairan, Philippine Star