Palace: Give China ‘flexibility’ to hire workers for China-funded bridge projects
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government should be given “flexibility” on the hiring of workers in two China-funded bridge projects in the country, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Senators earlier questioned the high proportion of Chinese workers in the Binondo-Intramuros bridge and Estrella-Pantaleon bridge projects of the the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Let me highlight that these bridges are a hundred percent donations from the Chinese government. So I think that should give us the proper perspective,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“It’s being given to us hundred percent, we don’t pay back anything for the bidding of these bridges and that’s why we need to give them some flexibility in the personnel that they hire,” he added.
During a Senate hearing for DPWH’s budget last week, Undersecretary Emil Sadain said that in the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge project, Filipino workers compose 55 percent of the workforce while Chinese workers make up 45 percent.
Sadain said the workforce for the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is composed of 69 percent Filipino workers and 31 percent Chinese workers.
“It’s an outright grant or donation to the Philippine government and I’m sure of that because I attended the groundbreaking of these bridges. Because of that I just appeal that we give them some leeway. Although, we would appreciate it of course if the Chinese government should employ more Filipinos,” Roque said.
Roque said he would discuss the issue with the DPWH and the Department of Labor and Employment if the government could insist that more Filipinos be hired in the said projects.
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