By Henry Empeño, February 11 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Close to a hundred workers recently laid off by Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Co.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) Inc. found new jobs here on Saturday during a job fair conducted by various government agencies under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Preliminary results released by organizers of the interagency Build Build Build = Jobs Jobs Jobs Caravan indicated that 4,051 job applicants registered at the one-day job fair held at the SBMA Gymnasium.

Of these, a total of 2,464, or 60.8 percent, were former Hanjin shipyard workers.

On the other hand, of the 186 jobseekers who were hired on the spot (HOTS) by various companies participating in the job expo, a total of 99 or 53 percent were former Hanjin workers.

Among the positions filled up by those hired on the spot were welders, electricians, masons, pipefitters, engineers, drivers, painters, scaffolders, riggers, clerks and administrative assistants, and sales and marketing personnel.

Rommel Aquino, of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Labor Center, said more workers are expected to be hired next week once they complete requirements like trade test certificates and medical documents.

He said that a total of 8,486 job applications were actually accepted, as most of the job fair registrants applied for multiple positions. Saturday’s jobs caravan was organized to provide alternative jobs to Hanjin workers who were displaced amid the financial trouble faced by the Subic-based firm, which filed for corporate rehabilitation early this year.

The organizers were the BBB team composed of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, SBMA and Clark Development Corp.

During the fair, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma thanked all participating agencies and companies, and lauded the collaboration between the public and private sectors in keeping former Hanjin workers in the active work force to sustain the economic growth of the region.

“We acknowledge the efforts of the government through the BBB Team to come up with an immediate program to address the plight of displaced Hanjin workers,” Eisma said. “Now they can be assured of reemployment.”

Among the top government officials who graced the Subic job fair were Sen. Richard J. Gordon, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, BCDA President Vivencio B. Dizon and Zambales First District Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun.

Organizers said almost 30,000 jobs were offered during the job fair by almost 100 companies mostly engaged in construction projects under the government’s infrastructure program, and companies within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The national government plans to spend from P8 trillion to P9 trillion for public infrastructure from 2017 to 2022, and infrastructure projects are expected to create millions of job opportunities nationwide.