FULL TEXT: SPEECH OF CIAP'S UNDERSECRETARY ATTY. RUTH CASTELLO

Delivered during the PCA Christmas Party last December 2, 2016 at the Shangri- La the Fort.

MY COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS AND PARTNERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, THANK YOU FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING WITH YOU AS YOU CELEBRATE THE MILESTONES, SUCCESSES AND GAINS OF THE PHILIPPINE CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION FOR THE PAST 71 YEARS.

IT IS AN HONOR TO BE ABLE TO CONGRATULATE ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR COLLECTIVE EFFORT IN SUSTAINING THE HIGH ESTEEM NOT ONLY OF THIS ASSOCIATION, BUT ALSO OF ALL THE PROFESSIONS ACROSS THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY WHOSE CONTRIBUTIONS VARY IN WAYS, LEVELS AND DIMENSIONS.

NO. 4 IN THE 10-POINT SOCIO-ECONOMIC AGENDA OF THIS ADMINISTRATION IS TO ACCELERATE INFRASTRUCTURE GOVERNMENT SPENDING TO ACCOUNT FOR AT LEAST 5% OF THE GDP WITH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS PLAYING A KEY ROLE. WE ARE NOW ENTERING THE GOLDEN AGE OF INFRASTRUCTURE. 

OUR PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE HAS SET HIS MANTRA IN MOTION, AND OUR NEW BATTLECRY IS TO BUILD, BUILD AND BUILD. HE HAS DEFINED HIS PARAMETERS AND FOCUS ON THIS INDUSTRY IN PROVIDING LIVELIHOOD TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE BY GENERATING EMPLOYMENT TO ITS FULLEST. HIS GOAL IS TO REDUCE THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TO 5% BY THE YEAR 2022, AND HE IS LOOKING AT THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST PERFORMERS, IF NOT THE BIGGEST, IN ACHIEVING THIS GOAL OF INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH. 

THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOCATED P9.5 TRILLION TO BE SPENT FOR THE NEXT FIVE AND A HALF YEARS ON INFRASTRUCTURE ALONE. FOR 2017, P900 BILLION IS ALLOCATED FOR VARIOUS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. 

IN THE PAST SIX YEARS OF PRESIDENT AQUINO, ONLY 12 INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS WERE BIDDED OUT AND IMPLEMENTED. 

IN THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF PRESIDENT DUTERTE, 9 MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPROVED AND BIDDED OUT, WITH 7 PROJECTS MORE ON ITS WAY UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER 2016. 

MORE OPPORTUNITIES WILL ABOUND IN THE COMING YEARS, AND WE WILL HAVE ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE. THERE WILL BE COMPETITION AMONGST YOU, BUT PLEASE ALLOW ME TO GIVE A WORD OF CAUTION: LET THIS COMPETITION BE AN ADVANTAGE TO THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PEOPLE. 

I URGE ALL OF YOU TO EXERCISE PRUDENCE AND PROFESSIONALISM TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.