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Subic employment rate steadily rises

Jonas Reyes

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Subic Bay Freeport showed a steady employment growth as the current number of workers is back at more than 135,000 for the first half of 2019 despite the closure of a giant shipbuilding company.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair and administrator Wilma Eisma said the total number of employees at the freeport is at 135,224 as of June this year, compared to last year’s 133,940. This despite Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction’s filing for bankruptcy last February.

Eisma said the number of employees working in the shipbuilding and marine sector significantly dropped by 450 percent―from last year’s first half numbers of 26,559 to this year’s 5,901.

“HHIC’s bankruptcy has caused the numbers of shipbuilding and marine related services to plummet, but we believe that the favorable business climate has compensated for the significant drop of these workers,” Eisma said, while adding that the manufacturing industry and the services category are improving.

In the manufacturing industry, there are 23,031 employees working for 88 companies as of the first half of 2019. Last year, the number was pegged at 18,197 in 85 companies.

The service sector has 2,470 companies with 76,652 for the first half of 2018. Both the number of the companies and the employees hired increased in 2019 at 2,765 and 92,453, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the construction category, 199 companies have hired 11,729 workers for the first half of this year, an increase from last year’s 185 companies hiring 10,868 employees.

Construction has been booming since the start of the rehabilitation of some of the infrastructure inside the Freeport.

“With the 2019 Southeast Asian Games getting closer, construction firms are now hiring more workers to fix the infrastructures needed for the event. These infrastructures include road works, expansion of the Subic Freeport Expressway, rehabilitation of the Subic Bay Gym and the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, among others,” Eisma said.

The number of domestic helpers increased as well as the first half of the year recorded 2,110 employees compared to last year’s 1,664. Olongapo residents had the biggest share of employment with 1,356.

Olongapo City is still the biggest provider of manpower with 43.71 percent of the overall chunk of the 135,224-strong work force. Zambales follows with 21.34%, Bataan 13.68%, National Capital Region 3.43% and Pampanga 2.64%.

The remaining 13.95% come from other areas around the country.

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