• Out-of-school youth will be the ones to be tapped as laborers for some government infrastructure projects
  • Budget secretary Benjamin Diokno said they will be trained by TESDA
  • This proposal will particularly be employed in conflict areas like in Mindanao

The government is mulling on hiring out-of-school youth to work for contractors tapped in building public infrastructures, particularly in conflict areas.

Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a PhilStar interview that they will be creating “engineering brigades” composed of 1,200 people that will be trained by the government.

“We will have them trained by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and then supervise them under the army. Let’s say we employ them for three years, after that they may be able to get hired,” he said.

According to the budget secretary, this will cure the underspending, especially in rebel areas like Mindanao since transaction is cut short.

“In the past, private contractors are afraid to go into rebel-infested areas because of the conflict. Our modality here is to make it a government-to-government transaction,” he said.

He also added that projects from school buildings to farm-to-market roads will be undertaken by these brigades, which in a way will shorten the contracting process because there is no private sector involved.

Aside from curing the underspending, this mechanism is also eyed as a solution to address the unemployment rate in the country that currently stands at 6.1 percent. Although this has already declined from the past rates, it remains  the highest in Southeast Asia.

Allocation for hiring these brigades will be taken from the unprogrammed funds for new personnel pegged at P96.10 billion next year.