Barely surviving amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the construction sector are concerned the possible unregulated entry of foreign contractors in the country will spell their demise.
This was the sentiment presented by various MSME and industry organizations to the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship which had been hearing bills calling for further opening up of domestic construction industry.
The Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) which is the central authority for the construction sector said 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 Secretary 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.