Cebu News

20% unskilled, semi-skilled work now required

Kristine M. Quintas/JMO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - All project contractors in Cebu City will now be required to include in their projects at least 20 percent “unskilled” or “semi-skilled” work.

The City Council has passed an ordinance that requires “all private contractors, including subcontractors, to whom public works projects have been awarded as well as those undertaking private contracts, will be required to hire at least 20 percent of unskilled/semi-skilled labor and 10 percent skilled labor… for every project to be taken from the available bonafide qualified residents of the barangay wherein the projects are to be undertaken.”

The ordinance is authored by Councilors Alvin Dizon and Nestor Archival.

The ordinance defines “unskilled work” as those that need little or no judgment that can be learned on the job in a short period of time. The job may or may not require considerable strength and merely mechanical.

Meanwhile, “semi-skilled work” refers to a work or job, which needs some skills but does not require doing the more complex work duties or decision-making. They may require alertness and close attention to watching machine processes; or inspecting, testing or otherwise looking for irregularities; or tending or guarding equipment, property, materials, or persons against loss, damage or injury, or other types of activities which are similarly less complex than skilled work, but more complex than unskilled work.

“I hope that this ordinance will pave the way for people to have jobs so that they can have the means to have a better quality of life,” Dizon said.

However, contractors undertaking “simple” maintenance and construction or repair projects worth less than P10 million are not covered by the ordinance.

Section 4 of the ordinance also exempts any scientific project of a highly technical nature, all defense and military installations which fall under security requirements, any public works project undertaken by the engineering battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Contractors that fail to follow the ordinance may not be given building permits and may be fined P5,000 or jailed for at least one month.

Contractors are given a transitory period of six months from the date of effectivity of the ordinance to comply with the new rules.

The Regional Economic Situationer report of the National Economic Development Authority-7 stated that construction industry in Cebu is “booming.”

Based on NEDA’s data, Cebu was identified as one of the highest performers in the country’s construction sectors with 4,891 new construction projects amounting to P7.83 billion approved by the agency in the first semester of 2013.

The agency projected that the construction will keep on booming until 2020.

Dizon pointed out that a strong infrastructure sector is a good indication of a stable economy but despite this positive development, unemployment and underemployment are still pressing concerns.

Dizon cited a National Statistics Office report stating that unemployment in Central Visayas decreased significantly by 1.6 percent as of December 2013. Underemployment in the region, on the other hand, increased from 12.2 percent to 13.6 percent.

“Unemployment remains to be one of the critical challenges of the country and local government must strive to help lower unemployment rates in their respective areas because when people have jobs, they have the means to live better lives,” Dizon said.

As a safety net, the barangays concerned are mandated to create monitoring committees to check on workers they recommended in consultation with the contractors who engage the services of the workers and the projects undertaken.

Section 7 of the ordinance provides that the contractor and/or subcontractor shall assess the applicant’s knowledge and skills vis-à-vis the performance requirements of a specific job. In addition, the contractor and/or subcontractor may also require physical examination of the worker.

The measure requires a minimum qualification requirement as “fair, just and logical as required for a particular task.”

Section 16 of the Local Government Code grants local governments the power to promote full employment among their residents.

The ordinance was approved in consonance with Republic Act 6685 or the Act requiring private contractors to whom national, provincial, city and municipal public works projects have been awarded under contract to hire at least 50 percent of the unskilled and at least 30 percent of the skilled labor requirements. —(FREEMAN)










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