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Pinoy Abroad

OFW deployment to Guam for US military project delayed

April 26, 2011 9:51am
The overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) scheduled to fly to Guam in the middle of this year for a United States (US) military construction project will have to wait a little longer, according to recruitment and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani.

The much-anticipated deployment of OFWs in Guam to work for the US military construction project will most likely be by the end of this year, said Geslani in a statement on Saturday.

The United States and Japan earlier signed an agreement for the construction of a military camp in Guam where 8,000 US marines and their 9,000 dependents will be transferred from Okinawa by the year 2016.

Geslani said the agencies still have to resolve certain issues before the construction project can proceed.

For one, the government of Guam and the Department of Defense have not yet settled the issue on who will fund upgrade waterworks, electricity, and wastewater infrastructure of the construction project, he said.

Earthquake- and tsunami-hit Japan is still recovering from the disaster that hit them in March and thus could have difficulty in meeting their commitments in the agreement, he added.

“The timetable [for the US base transfer] may be delayed, owing to the fact that now we’re not sure if Japan [will] meet its commitments because it will be focused on recovering from the effects of the disaster that hit them," said Geslani.

For this project, around 15, 000 workers are needed, which the populace of Guam alone can not fulfill.

Watts Constructors, a primary contractor in the project, has hired 30 people in the past six months and is willing to seek additional labor from the Philippines, said its company President Danny Watts.

"We knew we needed to mobilize people and equipment right away. We have set up the capability to recruit from the Philippines when it becomes necessary," he said.

Other contractors, including Black construction, have kept in touch with the Philippines’ labor supply market.

They said they are more than ready to import, if necessary, Filipino workers to build housing and roads, overhaul infrastructure, and upgrade military facilities throughout Guam in the next five years - Suzette Dalumpines, VVP, GMA News
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