SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — This premier Freeport has marginally higher workforce of some 135,000 in the first half of 2019 from last year’s 133,940 despite the closure of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction — Philippines’ (HHIC-Phil) shipbuilding facility in Redondo.
According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma, the number of employees working in the shipbuilding/marine related services has significantly dropped from last year’s first half numbers of 26,559 to this year’s first half numbers of 5,901.
“HHIC’s bankruptcy has caused the number of shipbuilding and marine related services to plummet, but we believe that the favorable business climate has compensated for the drop of these workers,” she said.
Eisma added a boost in the number of employees working in both the manufacturing industry and the services sector has more than made up for the drop.
In the manufacturing industry, there are now 23,031 employees working for 88 companies in the first half of this year. Last year, the number of employees in manufacturing stood at 18,197 working for 85 companies.
In the services sector, 2,470 companies employed 76,652 in the first half of 2018. Both the number of companies and employees hired increased to 2,765 and 92,453, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the construction sector, 199 companies hired 11,729 workers in the first half of this year, an increase from last year’s 185 companies hiring 10,868 employees. Construction has boomed 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 infrastructure 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,” Eisma said.
The number of domestic helpers increased in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as this year’s first half yielded 2,110 employees compared to last year’s 1,664. Olongapo residents accounted for the bulk of the employment with 1,356 this year.
Olongapo City is still the biggest provider of manpower, getting 43.71 percent of the overall chunk of the 135,224 workforce. The city is followed by Zambales with 21.34 percent, Bataan with 13.68 percent, the National Capital Region with 3.43 percent, and Pampanga with 2.64 percent. The remaining 13.95 percent come from various areas around the country.