Not enough RP workers for Guam
By Gerardo R. Partido
Variety News Staff
October 23, 2007
Guam construction companies have always assumed that they can depend on foreign labor from the Philippines when the military buildup starts in earnest.
Now, that is not so certain anymore.
The Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc., which groups the biggest private employment agencies in the Philippines, has warned that there may not be enough skilled Filipino workers to go around because a lot of them are already deployed in the oil-rich nations of the Middle East.
PASEI president Vic Fernandez, who was recently on Guam to attend the business conference sponsored by the Department of the Interior, said most of the sufficiently skilled workers are already deployed to the Middle East where there is a construction boom at present.
However, Fernandez was quoted by the Philippine Web site OFW Balita as saying that the opportunities presented by the Guam military buildup are too good for Filipino workers to pass up.
“The U.S. bases in Okinawa, Japan will be transferred to Guam by 2010 since their treaty with Japan will be finished. As a result, Guam will need about 50,000 construction workers in a span of three to five years. However, the potential deployment may not be achieved because we do not have sufficient number of skilled workers,” Fernandez said during a forum in Manila.
Fernandez has urged the Philippine government to conduct massive training for tradesmen, such as plumbers, electricians, and others.
“This problem has to be met by both the recruitment agencies and the government. We can deploy more if we have more training for tradesmen,” the PASEI president said.
He pointed out that Filipino workers would be working under American labor laws since Guam is a U.S. territory and an ordinary construction worker alone would be earning at least $1,200 a month.
According to Fernandez, representatives of the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Agency are already establishing contacts with Philippine recruitment agencies for the possible deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Guam.
PASEI has more than 650 agencies licensed by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment.
Along with increased membership, PASEI had also taken a leadership role in the Philippine overseas employment industry.