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CIAP also launched its information and application systems, which include Construction Licensing Information System (CLIRS) and POCB Corporate Export Information System (CEIS). Philippine constructors can register and submit their application online for a fee. These are expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2017.

The symposium was participated in by officials of Philippine construction companies, the CIAP Family, POCB, Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB), Philippine Domestic Construction Board, Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Japan Embassy, the Philippine Export/Import Credit Agency (Philexim), DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), United Power System Philippines Inc. (UPSPI), the Philippine Constructors Association Inc. (PCA), the Council of Engineering Consultants of the Philippines and the Antipolo City Institute of Technology (A1TECH), the only Philippine higher-education institution, which offers a construction engineering degree.

The symposium discussed labor- market opportunities and prospects in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG); orientation on the Quadruple “A” Category; the practice of engineering, procurement construction (EPC); and undertaking overseas construction in Brunei Darussalam and Lao PDR.

Levinson C. Alcantara, director of Marketing Branch of  the POEA, said Executive Order 1022 provides no restrictions on the deployment of overseas contract workers to Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

In Fiji, land, particularly land outside urban areas, is mostly held under customary ownership; hence private investors may seek long-term leasehold as freed tenure may not yet be an option.

PNG offers a good employment potential due to its prime investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) extraction and the country’s emphasis on mining for export. The government is investing heavily in delivering services, including better roads.

In Solomon Island transport and communications in rural areas remain limited. Inadequate infrastructure due to poor urban planning presents opportunities for Philippine constructors to tap.

Quadruple “A” category is a new category being provided to constructors. Foreign-owned constructors can benefit from this provided that the regular license has an annotation that they may engage in general engineering (horizontal) projects P3 billion and above and general building (vertical) projects P5 billion above and have submitted other requirements by the POCB.

Joseph Leland D. Sarmiento, AMO, Whessoe Philippines Construction Inc., presented the Nam Ngum and Xayaburi HEPP projects they constructed in Laos.

Salvador P. Castro Jr., chairman and president of SPCastro Inc., said in doing construction overseas, constructors must know their strengths and weaknesses; identify which market they can penetrate; balance their strengths with identified markets; and study and understand the law of the country they intend to do business in: They must master the professional regulatory requirements, contracts and obligations and professional liability; taxation and repatriation of earnings, and resolution of disputes in the country. He advised interested constructors not to be too ambitious and never give up.

Castro presented the buildings they constructed in Brunei: the Istana Nurul Imam (Negara Brunei Darussalam); the Brunei International Convention Center; the Masjid Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkia (The Sultan’s Mosque); the Royal Regalia (His Majesty the Sultan’s Museum); Royal Pavilion; Bolkia Housing “A” and “B”; Multipurpose Hall and Pedestrian Mall (National Sports Complex); and the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkia. In Abu Dhabi they constructed the Sea Palace and Al Bateen Park. Castro added that Brunei puts premium on the timely delivery of the projects.□

Gliceria N. Cademia, Trade and Industry Development Specialist, Services Division, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry

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