Business leaders join Duterte's call on not delaying projects

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — Business leaders join a call by President Rodrigo Duterte for courts not to delay government projects in order to create millions of jobs for Filipinos.

According to Sergio Ortiz-Luis, acting president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), realizing 12 million jobs in the next five years — as presented by the country's economic managers in China's Belt and Road Forum — was possible if the courts would not delay or issue temporary restraining orders (TRO) on essential projects, like for infrastructure.

Ortiz-Luis cited on Tuesday numerous projects under the Aquino administration that didn't get off the ground due to TROs — which he said had become "convenient reasons" for holding off projects with court cases.

Business leaders said projects that would be important for public convenience should not face delays, like the planned Metro Manila subway system to be sponsored by the Japanese government.

"That's going to create a lot of jobs, opportunities and training for Filipino labor," Chairman Benedicto Yujuico of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce said. "So nobody wants that delayed."

The government is eyeing a hefty ₱8.4 trillion to build roads and bridges, some with China's help. President Duterte, during a speech to the Filipino community in Hong Kong last Saturday, warned courts about TROs that stop the government from accomplishing things.

Related: Duterte to courts: Stop delaying government projects

Meanwhile, if business leaders agree with the Duterte administration on facilitating projects, labor issues are another story.

They are opposing calls for a total ban contractualization and raising the minimum wage in Metro Manila from ₱491 to ₱750.

Yujuico said businesses should not be dictated upon.

"I think market forces should actually pave the way for our economic growth and development," he said.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this report.