By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has ordered the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train more skilled workers, including carpenters, welders, and other laborers in the field of construction to address the bottleneck in the rollout of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this after Duterte himself admitted that there is a slight delay in the government’s ambitious infrastructure program due to the country’s lack of skilled workers.
According to Panelo, Duterte asked TESDA chief Isidro Lapeña to do something about the problem.
“Kasi, we are lacking in experts in… like in carpentry, in welding, iyong mga technical, kulang eh. Marami po tayong mga taong hindi empleyado, whether sa gobyerno o sa kumpanya, kasi hindi naman sila qualified. Lalo na iyong mga vocational, lalo na sa construction (and the technical. We have a lot of unemployed citizens but they are not qualified, especially in vocational and construction),” he said.
“Kaya sabi ni Presidente, sa TESDA, aba kailangan para magkaroon tayo ng malalim na bench ng mga karpentero, ng mga welders, mga electricians, kasi marami ang nagpuntahan sa iba’t-ibang bansa, eh (That’s why the President told TESDA that we need to have enough carpenters, welders, electricians because a lot of them are going overseas to work),” he added.
“In other words, we are doing something about it. That is the response,” he added.
Based on the “Build, Build, Build” website, there are 25,330 vacant positions, most of them for for carpenters, pipe fitters, rebarman, steelman, laborers, welders, scaffolders, foremen, painters, and skilled electricians.
On Thursday, Duterte said the “Build, Build, Build” program is getting a bit behind schedule because the country lacks skilled workers.
“Alam mo dito sa Pilipinas ngayon maraming trabaho. Ang construction humihinto kaso walang trabahante. Sino yan? Master electrician, master carpenter, master planner. Papag-aralan mo yan. Ang karamihan ng may alam niyan wala na sa Pilipinas at nandoon na sa Middle East (You know there are a lot of jobs here in the country. Construction jobs are put on hold because we lack laborers. Who are these? Master electrician, master carpenter, master planner.
You need to study for that, and those who are learned are already in the Middle East),” he said.
“Kaya ‘yang ‘Build, Build, Build’ medyo atrasado nang konti, walang trabahante. Marami tayong Pilipino, kung hindi naman tayo magtulungan, eh ‘di wala (That’s why the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program is a bit behind schedule. There are a lot of us so if we don’t help each other, then nothing will happen),” he added.
He then suggested that members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to study under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“Doon (TESDA) kayo mag-aral, bayaran ko kayo hanggang maka-graduate kayo. All you have to do is to drop your weapon. Wala na akong… pinatay mo. Wala akong magtanong na anong barangay pinuntahan mo (Study in TESDA and I will pay you until you graduate. All you have to do is to drop your weapon. I will not even ask you if you’ve killed a person or which barangay you went to),” he said.