By Betheena Unite
More than 1.5 million jobs in the country are expected to be provided this year under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, Public Works and Highways Chief Mark Villar said on June 5, Friday.
By the end of 2020, Villar said that the infrastructure program is expected to have provide 6.57 million jobs around the country since 2016.
“We are glad to announce that in 2016, 911,034 jobs were generated and this number ballooned to 1,196,555 jobs in 2017; 1,714,905 in 2018; and 1,226,023 in 2019,” the secretary said.
“This year, although we have slowed down a little bit due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, an estimated 1,525,342 of jobs will be generated from the 2020 budget,” Villar added.
The department, he said, poised to achieve this as the continuous yearly increase in infrastructure budget has led to the massive employment generation across the country, noting that the “massive ‘Build, Build, Build’ program is aimed to not only build roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure to spur economic development but also to provide local livelihood to the Filipino people.”
The secretary furthered that the construction workers employed under the infrastructure program were paid based on the minimum wage for each region.
Villar earlier issued Department Order 35, which provides the framework and guidelines for the implementation of infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the department order, only persons from 21 to 59 years old, without pre-existing health conditions, are allowed to be included in the workforce. They shall be required to undergo COVID-19 test and be retested as the need arises.
Workers must be provided with “necessary welfare facilities and amenities, such as employees’ quarters for board and lodging” as they will have to stay in their quarters for the duration of the project covered by both the enhanced and general community quarantine.
Contractors must also ensure that their personnel and workers have ample supply of vitamins and other medicines and equipment in case of emergency.
Disinfection and quarantine facilities must also be established in strategic locations to ensure the safety and welfare of all personnel and workers.
During deployment, daily monitoring of the pre- and post-work health conditions of the workers shall be undertaken by the concessionaires, contractors, suppliers, and subcontractors.
It was furthered that “sharing of construction and office equipment is discouraged. However, if necessary, the shared equipment must be disinfected in between transfers amongst personnel.”
Clustered and staggered deployment of employees within construction sites will also be implemented to minimize personnel contact and for easier contact tracing.