NOTHING wrong with the intention. It’s the timing that isn’t right.
Micro, small and medium size in the enterprises in the construction sector are barely surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, they’re hearing bills calling for further opening up of the local construction industry.
If said bills are not tell-tale signs of doomsday for the small builders, they don’t know how to call them.
The Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) and other business organizations recently told the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entneprenuership it would be “untimely” to add more players to the local construction market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as proposed by Senate Bill 1008 and its related bills that seek to lift restrictions on the entry of foreign players to the domestic construction industry.
The CIAP is chaired by Department of Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez, and counts as its Board members, Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III, Public Works and Highways Sec. Mark Villar, and Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade, and the chairpersons of the four implementing Boards under the authority, plus a private sector representative.
“MSMEs comprising 97% of registered contractors who are reeling from the debilitating effects of the pandemic will further be subjected to foreign competitors whose wider supply chain networks and support from their respective governments will put them at a disadvantage,” noted CIAP in its 13-page position paper.
The Society of Philippine Electrotechnical Constructors and Suppliers Inc. (SPECS) comprised of licensed electrical construction companies pointed out that “without the necessary safeguards and programs to develop and strengthen the local industry, it would have an adverse impact on our members, most of whom are MSMEs.”
The need for safeguards for the local industry is also echoed by the Association of Carriers and Equipment Lessors (ACEL) whose members are part of the construction equipment supply distribution chain.
There are over 15,000 licensed contractors in the country which provide around 4.2 million employment, accounting for 10% of total employment in the country and making it the biggest direct job contributor to the country in the last ten years.
Pa’no mas bibilis ang Internet sa Pinas?
Inaasahan ang lalo pang pagbilis ng ating Internet dahil sa pagpasok ng Dito Telecommunity bilang third telco player. Kung mapapansin ninyo, mas lalong ginagalingan ngayon ng Globe at Smart ang kani-kanilang serbisyo para sa mga Pinoy consumer at ang matinding kompetisyong dala ng Dito Telecommunity ang nagtutulak nito.
Sa katunayan, pumalo sa mahigit P120 bilyon ang investments ng Globe at Smart para sa telco infrastructures and services ngayong 2020 lang.
Pero base sa ilang pag-aaral ng mga eksperto, lumilitaw na mas gumaganda o bumibilis pa ang Internet kung nagtutulungan ang private and public sectors sa paggastos sa telco infrastructures.
Ang South Korea, na pang-apat sa may pinakamabilis na Internet network (fixed broadband: 162.40Mbps; mobile network: 145.03Mbps), ay nasa $24 bilyon o mahigit P1 trilyon ang kanilang karaniwang gastos sa telco infrastructures.
Sa pagluto sa 2021 national budget, nasa P902 milyon lang pala ang inprabuhang budget para sa National Broadband Network sa kabila ng pagtutulak ng ilang senador at kongresista na taasan ito. Malayo-layo ito sa spending ng South Korea. Sabi nga sa isang commercial, saan makakarating ang bente pesos?
Kung gusto nating maging world class, napapanahon ang paggastos ng gobyerno sa telco infrastructures, lalo’t wala pang klarong kasagutan kung kailan talaga matatapos ang hamon ng coronavirus.
Tulad ng paggastos natin sa mga tulay at kalsada, social welfare, at health programs, isa rin ang telco infrastructures o ang mabilis na Internet sa nagtutulak sa pagtaas ng GDP ng maraming bansa na nagreresulta sa pagbaba ng numero ng mga naghihirap na pamilya.
Good investment ito para sa mga Pilipino.
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