Davao water project to hit peak construction phase in late 2019

The construction of the P12-billion bulk water project in the city is set to peak in late 2019 with the joint venture implementing it starting to look for more workers.

“Peak (of construction) would be sometime late this year and early next year with (demand for) up to 1,000 workers,” according to Cirilo C. Almario III, general manager of Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc., a consortium between the Aboitiz Equity Ventures and the JV Angeles Construction Corp., in an e-mail sent to BusinessWorld.

At present, the number of workers is currently about 170, but Mr. Almario said the construction phase has just started.

Mr. Almario said the company is not expected to have difficulty looking for workers because there is adequate manpower in the host communities.

When the project is completed by 2021 as scheduled, he said another set of people will be hired to operate the facility. “Priority will still be those from the host barangays but they would have to be qualified,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has said that the construction sector will become the major growth driver of gross regional domestic project to between 10.5% and 11% from 8.6% last year.

However, Maria Lourdes D. Lim, NEDA regional director, said growth in the sector will depend on how fast the projects, including those funded by government under its “Build, Build, Build” program, can hire quality workers amid a shortage of construction workers.

Ms. Lim said the government and private sector have discussed the need to hone the skills of workers to meet the standards required by the employers. Among the key interventions is to tap the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to come up with a training module for these workers.

Mr. Almario said the company is “positive” it can complete the project on schedule by the first half of 2021, when it is due to start delivering about 300 million liters of potable water a day to the Davao City Water District, the city’s water provider.

“Right now, we are (building) the water treatment facility in the Tamugan River site where we will be putting up the intake facility and in the third or fourth quarter, we will start with the pipe laying all across the city. This is the peak construction phase,” he said.

June 18, 2019 BusinessWorld
Carmelito Q. Francisco