15,300 new jobs created in Subic | SubicNewsLink

23 November 2008

15,300 new jobs created in Subic

A total of 15,330 new jobs were created in this free port in the first nine months after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) approved 141 new investment projects worth more than $239 million.

The new jobs include the 10,000 projected employment of Subic Neocove Corp., a joint venture between Korean and American firms for the construction and operation of an integrated sports and luxury resort facility at Subic's Redondo Peninsula.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said the projected employment opportunities would increase Subic's active workforce by 18 percent.

According to the SBMA Labor Department, Subic's total labor force already stood at 83,428 as of September due to expansion programs undertaken by Subic-registered enterprises, as well as the operation of new investors..

While the bulk of the Subic workforce remains in the services sector with a total of 36,012 workers or 43.17 percent, employment in the shipbuilding and marine-related business is fast catching up, the SBMA said.

Already, maritime-related industries employ 26,438 or 31.69 percent of the workers in Subic, SBMA figures showed.

The maritime sector is followed by the manufacturing sector, with 14,804 or 17.74 percent; and construction, with 5,628 workers or 6.75 percent. The rest of the active workforce is composed of domestic helpers and caretakers, with a total of 546 or 1 percent.

Arreza said the entry of Neocove Corp. and other big-ticket tourism projects would most likely keep the services sector as the leading employer here in the next few years.

"Subic is basically service-oriented, so as more industries locate here — whether in maritime or manufacturing sectors — we expect a corresponding increase in jobs in the services sector," Arreza said.

He added that aside from Neocove, nine other big investors that signed in this year would also be also labor-intensive.

These include the Korean construction firm Hanil E&C Subic, Inc., which has a committed investment of $11 million; Sultan Ahmed Lootah Enterprises corp., with $6.72 million; George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center, Inc., with $6.58 million; Hanafil Golf and tour, Inc., with initial commitments of $3 million; Australasia Marine Alliance Corp., with $2.31 million; Pacific Pearl Airways Aviation School, with $2.13 million; Palmgold Int'l Ltd., with $1.98 million;
Grand Pillar Int'l Development, Inc., with $1.9 million; and Buma Subic Development and Management Corp., with $1.5 million.

The 141 new projects worth some $239 million placed the total committed investments in Subic at $5.74 billion, the SBMA said.

Arreza also said that SBMA's job-generation program has been instrumental in addressing unemployment and underemployment in the Central Luzon region.

Citing figures from the Department of Labor and Employment's Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (DOLE-BLES), Arreza noted that the region's unemployment rate had decreased from 11.5 percent in 2007 to 9..4 percent as of July this year.

In the same period, Central Luzon's underemployment figures went down from 14.1 percent in 2007 to 9.2 percent as of July.

"I think our efforts to minimize labor gaps are now gradually paying off," Arreza said, pointing out that the agency is also facilitating regional dialogues not only to address unemployment, but to promote skills matching and industrial peace in the region.

He said the that in 2005, the SBMA linked with the Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Agency, Public Employment Service Office, and the Regional Development Council to start a series of conferences on job-skills mismatch to help address labor concerns in Central Luzon. (SBMA Corporate Communications)