Infrastructure development to address unemployment, Mideast crisis

12 March 2016

Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr. said the next administration should focus in infrastructure development to address the unemployment problem and the impending exodus of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from the Middle East.

Marcos said a good first step for infrastructure development is the implementation of foreign-assisted projects that have not been completed, especially those funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), World Bank - International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Fund, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Fund.

"A number of these foreign-assisted infrastructure projects have incurred delays in their completion and implementation due to technical and administrative problems. Steps should be initiated in resolving the projects’ backlog," he said.

Most of these foreign-assisted ventures are the construction of bridges, roads, irrigation systems, flood risk management, and other big ticket projects, which according to Marcos, could have already jumpstarted economic growth had they been completed on time.

“Infrastructure development is a good way to boost the economy, address the unemployment problem and the impending arrival of our OFWs displaced from the Middle East and elsewhere,” he pointed out.

Marcos said that the government should, as early as now be thinking about alternative measures for workers who have been displaced or even for those who will not be given a chance to work abroad.

The senator also pointed out that the government should be looking inward to develop opportunities for workers in the country instead of shipping them out in the first opportunity.

“The sad thing about it is that we are always looking for opportunities elsewhere, but very seldom have Pinoy skilled workers simply just looked around and found opportunities to exercise their skills in their homeland,” he lamented.

Marcos said that there should be more efforts to retool and educate Filipino workers so that they will be able to find opportunities in industries that need a strong workforce as well as a review of salaries for these industries to make sure that they have competitive salaries.

“If our government can provide growth opportunities here, in the Philippines, I am sure that our skilled workers will be the missing link to catapult our economy to its full potential. As it stands, other countries benefit from their skills because our government does not see what they can do for the country,” he said.