Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Filipino contractors to vie for $15-billion naval project in Guam

OLONGAPO CITY — Filipino contractors will try to outbid each other for a whopping $15-billion US military naval project in Guam.

This was bared recently by Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr., saying that Filipino manpower companies and suppliers are gearing to submit their bids during the Annual Pacific Island Local Government Conference which Olongapo will host from February 18 to 21 this year.

According to APILG Executive Director Dean Alegado, more than 1,500 contractors have already signed up for the bidding process, and 50 of those are Filipino-owned companies. He said the contractors would know more about the bidding process during the conference.

“They were mostly contractors for manpower services. Hosting this conference is a major coup for Olongapo because it can provide opportunities for Filipino contractors from all over the country to meet important decision-makers,” he said.

“Everything is imported in Guam. For products that they don’t manufacture, maybe we can supply them,” Gordon said.

Gordon said the US naval project is part of the planned transfer of the US naval base from Okinawa, Japan to Guam.

“They would certainly need at least 20,000 workers just to build the naval base,” Gordon added.

Construction of the base will commence this year up to 2014. The transfer of some 14,200 US servicemen along with their 38,070 dependents from the former base in Okinawa will start from 2012 and will be completed by 2016.

Alegado said the biggest competitors of Filipino contractors would be American firms since the naval project in Guam will be paid for using US taxes. Biddings were earlier also conducted in Washington, Honolulu and Guam for the project.

“But there is still a huge opportunity for Filipino contractors in other areas like medical, food and training services,” he said.

Alegado also said the naval base project will need skilled workers, medical practitioners and the like since 20 percent of the people there are either from Olongapo or Zambales.

The APILG conference will draw contractors from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Belau, the American Samoa, Hawaii, and Guam. By JONAS REYES - Manila Bulletin

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