AROUND 17,000 jobs vacancies were offered Sunday, Aug. 12, at the “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” Caravan led by government agencies under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
The job fair, held 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, was attended, among others, by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, as well as Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, and Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
Most of these officials form part of the economic cluster of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Cabinet. At Sunday’s job fair, they represented their agencies which were identified as the lead departments in that event. Also in attendance were President/CEO Vivencio B. Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar.
According to updates by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr), 17,159 vacancies were offered at the job fair from 40 employers and contractors operating under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
In his remarks as of 2:00 p.m. Sunday, August 12, Mr. Villar said “Natutuwa kami na as of now, 3,000 na po ang uma-attend sa ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’…. Makikita niyo po marami ay nabigyan ng trabaho.” [We are happy that, as of now, 3,000 attended the “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”….You can see that many were given jobs].
DoLE’s update as of 1:30 p.m. said a total 2,665 applicants registered at the job fair, with 27 hired on the spot and 206 shortlisted.
Mr. Lopez, for his part, cited a number of big construction players under which 500 were hired on the spot.
Mr. Bello, in turn, said, “[W]e are prioritizing yung mga kababayan natin na na-repatriate…. ‘Yung mga Saudi, ‘yun ang aming tina-target upon strict orders of the President na lahat ng na-repatriate nating manggawa galing sa Saudi ay mabibigyan ang first break sa programang ‘Build, Build, Build’ ng ating Pangulo.” (We are prioritizing our repatriated workers….Those from Saudi [Arabia], they’re our target, upon strict orders of the President that all our repatriated workers from Saudi [Arabia] will be given the first break in the “Build, Build, Build” program of our President.)
For his part, Mr. Tugade said, “Ang mga taong gusto magtrabaho at magempleyo sa mga riles, sa mga subway, ay kukuha ng class program at kukuha ng certification. Bago mag-o-operate ang subway, uumpisahin namin ang training.” [“Those who want to be employed in the railway and subway projects under ‘Build, Build, Build’ will get a class program and a certification. Before the subway will operate, we will start training”].
A social-media statement by DoTr said in part that the job fair was open to, among other skilled workers, “engineers, architects, carpenters, welders, and other (workers with) construction-related skills. The other jobs available include support staff in the fields of accounting, finance, Information Technology (IT), customer service, etc.”
Mr. Villar said the Caravan will be the first of many the government plans to bring around nationwide.
“‘Yung mga projects ng ‘Build, Build, Build’ nationwide, actually mas marami pa sa probinsya. Heto po ang unang job fair pero magkakaroon ng marami pang job fair sa iba’t ibang lugar,” he said. (The projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ [program] nationwide, actually there are more [vacancies to be offered] in the provinces. This is the first job fair but there’ll be more job fairs elsewhere around the country).
Mr. Diokno, for his part, said his agency is exploring options to keep the infrastructure program, including turning over the “inactive budget” of the Department of Public Works and Highways to next year’s funding.
“Pinag-aaralan namin lahat ng options including their inactive budget nu’ng 2018 dahil marami pang proyekto nu’ng 2017 at 2018 na hindi pa nagagawa. Pag ina-add mo ‘yun sa 2019, napakalaki pa rin ng budget,” the budget chief said, amid the House of Representatives’ suspension of hearings on the proposed 2019 budget. — with Janina C. Lim and Gillian M. Cortez