4 December 2020 via Zoom


Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat!

Congratulations to the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) as you celebrate your 40th anniversary with the holding of your 1st virtual Construction Congress.

PH Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030

Last year, we launched the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030 at the ASEAN Convention Center in Pampanga. Through this roadmap, the industry aims to boost its contribution to the national economy to Php130T by 2030. The roadmap would also transform the industry to be a global partner in building nations.

We had so many plans at the start of 2020, with our Construction Industry Congress launching the 30 for 2030 Action Plans of the Roadmap. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our country early this year, the corresponding community quarantine lockdowns took a toll on our economy, most especially on the construction industry. The recent back-to-back typhoons also contributed to the delay in a number of construction projects.

Bruised and scarred, the construction industry players never said die! They are strong, they are resilient. They even exemplified the true Bayanihan spirit during the pandemic in helping build isolation and quarantine facilities. You also contributed greatly in the clean-up drive after the three recent typhoons. And for all of these, the Duterte administration is truly grateful. 

Because of the work stoppage brought by the pandemic, we recognize the need to review our targets for the construction industry. However, we believe that this industry is still the best driver to economic recovery and growth and we are committed to the Tatag at Tapat as the industry’s battle cry.

The challenges of this year also underline the importance of legislating a long-term infrastructure plan ensuring the continuity of our programs and the establishment of future-ready and climate resilient infrastructure. Through the 30-Year Infrastructure Master Development Plan, we can provide a stronger, more solid, and stable infrastructure for the Filipino people through generations.

Reopening the PH Economy

To support the reopening of our economy, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) needs to help the construction sector bounce back amidst the community quarantine. Thus, the resumption of construction activities—particularly big ticket infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” government flagship program—was allowed much earlier than other economic activities. It po ay ipinaglaban natin with Secretary Mark VIllar, ang masipag at action man ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), at ang Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) para mabuksan construction activities during the lockdowns. 

DTI is also continuing to strengthen initiatives to develop, promote, and adopt innovative technologies and efficient construction business processes. We are likewise pushing the upskilling of the capabilities and know-how of industry professionals and workers, especially on new construction technology applications.

The latter is important to consider because while the Philippine construction industry comprises 17% of our GDP, it has the second lowest productivity due to the lack of massive adoption of digital technology. In a McKinsey study last October, emerging trends in the construction industry ecosystem indicate the use of the following: 3-D printing, modularization, and robotics; AI and analytics; and supply chain optimization and marketplaces. Moreover, while most quadruple A contractors in the country have current technology that use a Building Information Modeling system, these need to be cascaded and made affordable to smaller contractors as soon as possible.

Furthermore, we are continuing to pursue trade agreements to gain a foothold in overseas markets through the participation of the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) in bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations. 

For example, the Philippines signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement with the other ASEAN Member States (AMS) and our key trade partners: Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. As the largest free trade area in the world in terms of market size, RCEP will complement ongoing programs and policies to make the Philippines a manufacturing and investment hub in the ASEAN region. 

What’s more, we will promote integrated joint ventures between local and foreign companies—including sub-contracting and specialty works—while upholding the principles of reciprocity, mutual recognition, and technology and skills transfer. We will also pursue corporate exports of construction and related engineering services to provide higher value and secure employment. This will ensure that we avoid brain and brawn drain to the domestic construction industry.

Overview of FTA Commitments in Construction Services Industry

Under RCEP, ASEAN FTA Partners have allowed the establishment of commercial presence, allowing ASEAN Member States’ firms with no market access or national treatment limitations (i.e. up to 100% foreign equity, particularly for the following activities: General Construction Work for Buildings and Civil Engineering, Installation and Assembly Work, and Building Completion and finishing work.

The RCEP also caters to the construction industry by providing stability and predictability on the legal regime, ensures fair and equitable treatment, provides transparency through the market access commitments made by Parties under the Chapter on Trade in Services and Competition, and a platform for cooperation through the Chapter on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

EODB & the Construction Industry

We know that the government is the main catalyst that enables innovative, competitive, job-generating, and inclusive businesses to accelerate and sustain our country’s economic growth. That’s why DTI remains committed to support the continued growth of the construction industry through the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

To this end, we are proud to announce the official launch of the online contractors’ licensing platform of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) to allow processing and issuance of applications. This program is the result of the strong collaborative partnership synergy between CIAP, the USAID DELIVER Project, and private sector stakeholders

Within one month, we were able to streamline documentary requirements from 24 to nine and bring down processing time from four weeks to four days. The online platform enabled the renewal and issuance of over 7,500 digital contractors’ licenses within four months starting in June. Likewise, the processing of the Joint Venture Special Licenses was integrated into the platform. This cut down documentary requirements from ten to one simple digital form, and two basic documents for online submission—all processed and issued within one working day.

As we launch the PCAB platform, we have also integrated the most important type of application, which is the processing and issuance of new licenses. This will realize one of our goals of bringing unlicensed contractors into the formal economy.

We are truly grateful for the assistance of the USAID, led by its Head of Delegation, Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, on this project. This platform will certainly contribute to the improvement of ease of doing business in the construction industry in facilitating their various projects.

The PCAB online system is also an example of a new digital era: a government responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the digital and interconnected economy in the New Normal.

TNK for the Construction Industry

Because our best resource is our workforce, we are also pushing the expansion of the opportunities and services available in the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) Program specifically catering to the construction industry. As a joint project of DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) led by my partner Secretary Bebot Bello, the TNK program was originally established to create decent jobs through entrepreneurship and trainings.

Today, we will launch the TNK Program for the Construction Industry, an interactive online platform for job matching, with our very special guest na ang BISYO ay SERBISYO, Senator Bong Go. This platform will also address competency gaps through training programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF), and other partner institutions.

On the part of government, this knowledge database will provide vital information that will enable policy makers to come up with future-ready construction human resource strategies, plans, and programs.

Make it Happen in the Philippines

As our country navigates this fast-changing world that forecast an unstable future for many businesses, we face the challenges of the “New Normal” head on by launching a new “MAKE IT HAPPEN IN THE PHILIPPINES” international marketing campaign.

This campaign highlights the Philippines’ strength and adaptability to weather through these challenges. We are confident that our new marketing campaign will promote our country’s roll-up-your-sleeves, make-it-work mindset that makes us a unique and attractive investment for foreign investors. What’s more, this campaign will relay a clear message to the rest of the world that the Philippines is dynamic, agile, and resilient.

“MAKE IT HAPPEN IN THE PHILIPINES” is also a promise to Filipinos and anyone who wants to do business in the Philippines that we will BUILD BACK BETTER!

40 Years of Construction Industry Transformation

As we celebrate 40 years of construction industry transformation, we need to remember that in the 1970s, we were the world leader in the export of construction and related engineering services. Back then, we were building iconic landmarks and structures overseas. 

The Construction Industry Roadmap will help to lift us up from the recent challenges and bring us back again on the path as a global partner in building nations. Our special guest Senators—ang Pambansang Kamao and Chairman of the Committee on Public Works, Senator Manny Pacquiao; Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, Senator Koko Pimentel; and Senator Bong Go—will be our champions of the construction industry in the Senate. The legislative policies they will create together with our strategies and programs will be our blueprint towards our progress to the future. Our ultimate aim is to build a nation whose people can enjoy the fruits of our country’s inclusive growth, and a construction industry that is Matatag at Matapat.

Despite the pandemic and the typhoons, we hope that we all continue to be inspired by the Bayanihan spirit and work together in a collective act of nation-building towards a “Better Normal.” And as the construction industry continues to support our country’s economic growth story, the jobs and employment you generate for our people will also give them a better and more comfortable quality of life as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat! ♦

Date of Release: 04 December 2020