‘Love in time of Labor Day’
Across the country, some 3 million construction workers are helping real estate firms bring their visions to life.
From developing the smallest parcels of land into subdivisions to building the most ambitious skyscrapers and creating sustainable, masterplanned communities, these workers are proving to be the lifeline of every project, every masterpiece and every landmark that has graced the country’s skyline.
Now, more than ever, has the role of these construction workers become more pronounced and significant amid an unprecedented real estate boom and the government’s ambitious P8-trillion infrastructure initiative. Such is the demand now that in fact, some 1 million more skilled workers will be needed in the fields of construction, architecture and engineering until 2022, to address a labor shortage in various projects in the country today.
It was thus only fitting to pay homage to the construction workers, without whom the government and the private sector won’t be able to roll out all these crucial projects that have significantly contributed to the Philippine economy.
A day before Labor Day, teams from Medicard Philippines and Inquirer Property trooped to a construction site in Caloocan to do exactly that: pay homage to a sector that is worthy of recognition.
As early as 9:30 a.m., team members from Medicard and Inquirer Property have started arriving at the site, preparing to spring a pleasant surprise on over 400 construction workers, who all did not have a single clue why there were all these visitors donning the same white shirts and blue hard hats.
Unknown to these laborers, they would soon be in for an hour of a much needed break comprising of fun games, a short talk on safety and a simple lunch.
By 10:30 a.m., workers under Monolith Construction and Development Corp. were called to assemble in one of the open areas at the site. Clearly confused why they were being asked to halt work, many were whispering among their peers, looking inquisitively at the small pull up banners that carry the names of Medicard and Inquirer.
MediCard marketing services manager Kate Cruz-Joaquin and Inquirer Property Section editor Theresa S. Samaniego kicked off the program with a few words of gratitude and encouragement, followed by a talk on safety by MediCard Doctor and Assistant Manager On-Site Clinic and Health Promotion Services Dr. Pauleen Faustino.
Shy and hesitant to participate at first, the workers eventually got their game face on, all joining in on the fun, excitement and laughter, joking around and exchanging banters among themselves.
And they were all listening to the talk, too, as many of them, surprisingly competitive, raced to answer in the Q&A game about safety in the workplace. Simple prizes up for grabs included t-shirts, tumblers, Guyito dolls, movie passes and cash.
Guyito made an appearance, too, much to the delight of the laborers, many of whom even took selfies with Inquirer’s beloved mascot. A dance showdown between Guyito and
select participants from the crowd eventually had everyone on their feet, ending the program on a much happier note.
It was important, of course, for the workers to know why they were being celebrated. When asked if they knew their significance to the Philippine economy, a couple stood up and gave heartwarming responses which clearly indicated that they were, after all, well aware of their role and its importance.
To cap off the program, MediCard Philippines and Inquirer Property gave away first aid kits that included gauze, alcohol pads, whistle, adhesive bandages, and other meds, as well as a simple, hearty lunch of Mang Inasal, which kept everyone’s tummies full and content.
This was indeed a simple celebration of and for the workers, who have remained in the shadows every time a new project comes to light. And for sure, there are many other ways to pay homage to them, whether through the passage and implementation of pertinent laws to protect them, or through the numerous benefits being provided by the private companies.
At least, in that one hour, a fraction of the country’s construction workforce had the opportunity to be thrust into the spotlight to get the recognition they so well deserve.
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