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Bringing Industry and Technology Towards Sustainable Construction

Secretary Luwalhati R. Antonino
Chair of the Mindanao Development Authority
July 7, 2011
4th Joint General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Constructors Association, Inc. and the Davao Constructors Association Center
Convention Hall, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Davao City

I am pleased to greet all the constructors here tonight, as you convene to consolidate your strength as an industry organization, with the holding of your 4th General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Constructors Association and the Davao Constructors Association Center.

Let me note at the outset, that the construction industry has been a driving force in our local and national economy over the last recent years. No development and economic growth would have been possible, without the role significantly played by our sector.

The physical signs of progress such as massive rise of buildings, business establishments, malls, housing, property and real estate development, airports, roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects are among the tangible results of the construction industry’s crucial contribution to society. 

But this industry, being a major component of the entire development equation, is not impervious to both local and global economic realities that present both dynamism and a certain degree of volatility.

When the global financial crisis of 2008, wrecked havoc in major developed economies of the world such as the U.S. and several European countries, the Philippines was not spared from the effects of the crisis.

With a substantial part of our economic growth traditionally attributed to our export oriented industries, we have also seen some slowing down of certain growth indicators in exports, tourism as well as in construction.

For instance in 2010, a 6.11 percent decline was observed in the number of the private building construction all across the country. From 112,102 in 2009 it plunged to 105,230 the following year. The decrease also spread to the other island regions with Mindanao hitting 2.4 percent fall.

However, in contrast to the decline of the number of private building construction, its corresponding value felt an increase of 32.70 percent. From 143.53 billion pesos in 2009, it surged to 190.47 billion pesos in 2010. Luzon took almost 80 percent of entire pie, while the growth in Mindanao was pegged at 12.7 percent.

The total amount for the new private building construction in Mindanao reached 18.65 billion pesos in 2010. This figure is obviously higher from 2009’s 16.6 billion pesos. Region XI took the highest share at 46 percent with 8.59 billion pesos.

As we anticipate improvement in foreign direct investments and with the recent move of the government to accelerate spending to enhance services delivery and pump prime the economy, there is much to expect in terms of construction development, especially here in Mindanao.

I must note that the administration of President Aquino fully supports our overall agenda for Mindanao because this government takes great interest in achieving just and lasting peace.

Therefore, realizing the rich growth potentials of Mindanao while simultaneously addressing perennial problems besetting the island are at the core of our agenda for change.

The Aquino pursuit of dynamic growth and sustainable peace in Mindanao is a major endeavour that can be best defined and pursued by Mindanawons themselves.

This is the reason why the Mindanao Development Authority is determined to pursue the strategies identified under the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework administration subscribes to the thesis that the 
Plan, a platform for convergence, collaboration and integration of both medium and long term peace and development programs for Mindanao.

No less than President Aquino has recognized the value of this framework in moving forward the necessary actions that will bring about peace and progress in this part of the country.

Mindanao has long been considered a depressed region in the Philippines. Its long history of conflict between the government and secessionist and insurgency groups, coupled with decades of neglect from central government, has created a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment.

Although a certain measure of investments in infrastructure and human capital have improved the island’s condition in the past few decades, these were not enough to push its economy within self-sufficiency or its poverty rate at acceptable levels.

With 7 out of 10 provinces having the lowest standard of living in the country found in Mindanao, increased public spending for health, education and poverty alleviation for the island is not only logical but morally compelling. 

Pursuing economic integration and ensuring wealth creation, supported by conducive policy conditions and infrastructure and ICT-enabled development, form part of the major strategies under the Mindanao 2020.

Your theme, “Bridging Industry and Technology Towards Sustainable Construction” moves precisely along the long term strategic direction we have set Mindanao to achieve within the next 20 years.

We must work hand in hand to address challenges facing the construction industry and bring to the fore its importance as a sector in terms of helping the majority of our nation’s construction workers have good jobs, good training and a path for new opportunities.

One of the usual challenges of this industry is to convince parents and their children that the construction industry is a good career choice. There’s an ever growing opportunity for skilled construction workers both here and abroad that would last for a foreseeable future. 

Under the Mindanao 2020, we set our sights in producing graduates in the fields that are much relevant and much needed for Mindanao.

We also need to continue working to achieve new standards of occupational safety and health. The construction industry could do better if it is able to create a culture where accidents are not accepted.

There is no doubt that with your determination and commitment, the country’s construction industry is ready to digest the increase in capacity, as many regions, such as here in Mindanao, indicate a vibrant economic base dominated by the location of plant expansions and the related escalation in private, commercial and public infrastructure construction.

As the oldest industry organization in the country, the PCA continues to carry much promise of being at the forefront of sustainable development of the Philippine construction industry.

I urge you to continue to perform and deliver. The technology is right before us. Let us make use of this to effect change and create a better future, through viable and sound construction sector.

Towards this end, may we all work hand in hand to reach as much progress as possible, in partnership with the all other stakeholders, as well as our development partners.

And may we all be united by our common aspirations, with determination to forge ahead a strong alliance, so we can advance the common good of all Mindanawons.




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