MARAWI CITY, The Philippines, Sept. 20 – The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the country’s leading cement maker, Holcim Philippines, to implement a 26-day training program this October on the enhancement of construction competencies for some 300 skilled workers.

UN-Habitat will identify and select participants from partner communities of its resettlement project sites in Marawi City through a skilled worker assessment.

“In the context of recovery and rehabilitation of the displaced population in Marawi City, we should put a premium on investing in the social capital,” said Warren Ubongen, UN-Habitat Project Manager for Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood.

“This program, which will be conducted in Barangay Dulay Proper, shall provide opportunities for sustainable livelihood through skills training to improve the workers’ prospects for employability,” Ubongen added.

The program targets out-of-school youth, unemployed adults, and those who already have basic industrial and construction-related knowledge and skills.

On its part, Holcim will fund construction competency courses on masonry and carpentry through its corporate citizenship program, Holcim Helps.

This initiative is directly aligned with Holcim Philippines’ commitment as a member of the LafargeHolcim Group, which is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and endeavors to contribute to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities.

“Our company is proud to be part of this effort in rebuilding Marawi. We also feel privileged that we have been chosen by UN-Habitat in this important project, which reflects our commitment to be a partner of progress beyond cement. We are hopeful that this will empower beneficiaries to become more active participants in rebuilding their community and enable them to pursue better opportunities moving forward,” said Holcim Philippines President and CEO John Stull.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will administer the courses and certify those who pass post-training assessments as skilled workers. 

Those who complete the training courses will receive a Certificate of Completion (COC) to show their enhanced competencies after acquiring the National Certification II (NCII). The certification ensures that the competencies acquired by the workers meet current global standards in their respective fields. 

“The program aims to equip our home partners with the proper skills to support private and government sectors in the region that are in need of skilled construction workers,” Ubongen added, “and in turn, inject income into Marawi City to boost the local economy.”

The MoU formally establishes the partnership between both agencies in supporting the 11 billion-yen (approximately USD 10 million) Japan-funded Rebuilding Marawi project.

The project aims to construct 1,500 core shelters and 10 community infrastructure, and provide livelihood support to vulnerable families and communities as part of the post-conflict recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City. (UNHABITAT)