3 Million Workers Needed for Massive Infrastructure Projects, DPWH Reports

Manila, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) revealed on Tuesday that more than 3 million skilled and unskilled workers will be required to undertake the extensive infrastructure endeavors spearheaded by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration. The announcement came during a sectoral meeting concerning the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2023-2028 (LEP) conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

The infrastructure sector’s employment prospects took center stage in the discussion, emphasizing the colossal scale of projects planned within the administration’s tenure. Secretary Manuel Bonoan of the DPWH disclosed that the department is currently operating with a capital outlay exceeding P800 billion, managing a portfolio of 70,000 substantial and minor contracts spanning the nation.

Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan. Photo from PCO. © Provided by The Manila Times

Secretary Bonoan underscored the massive labor force required, stating, “So you can just imagine the labor force that we need in terms of skilled and technical people. I think our estimated requirement in our program is almost three million workers, skilled and unskilled, on a year-to-year basis.” He further elaborated, “This is just the start of the big infrastructure development program of the country.”

Highlighting the expansive opportunities for the labor sector, Bonoan highlighted the substantial government infrastructure projects alongside initiatives from private enterprises. These “mega” projects are slated to commence next year, with the private sector contributing workers through contracted agencies and suppliers.

To meet the demand for skilled laborers, the DPWH will collaborate with the DoLE and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to provide training programs. Bonoan also noted, “There are other infrastructure programs of the government. They are big. Including the Department of Transportation, they have big projects as well that are going to be implemented starting this year and all the way to the term of the President.”

During the Palace briefing, Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, accompanying Secretary Bonoan, presented the core objectives of Chapter 4 of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028. The primary goals of this chapter are to enhance Filipinos’ income-earning capacity, foster inclusive social protection, and uphold labor rights and commitments. These aspirations align with President Marcos’s 8-Point Socio-Economic Agenda and the overarching aim of the PDP 2023-2028 to mitigate unemployment and underemployment, fostering higher-quality job opportunities.

As the country gears up for a significant surge in infrastructure projects, the anticipated demand for labor presents a transformative prospect for the Philippine workforce. The government’s commitment to training and inclusion sets the stage for economic growth and enhanced employment opportunities across the country.

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