By Myrah Acuzar
Davao Today intern
DAVAO CITY – As government set up wider and coordinated jobs fairs in this year’s commemoration of Labor Day, job seekers cautioned against pinning too much hope that they turn panacea to the troubling trend in unemployment.
A throng of job-seekers formed snake-like queues in the shopping malls here hosting the fairs, and hoping to corner them into their department stores and tenements of tenants, as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) solicited 29,816 job vacancies from 134 participating agencies.
Of the 5,130 job seekers who filed application forms in the designated malls, almost half just graduated this year. The rest are undergraduates and high school graduates, including some whose age are near the mandated age of retirement, that would help explain why a small percentage of job-seekers get to land a job.
Al John Rendon, who just recently passed the Electronics and Communications Engineering Board Examination, clutched excitedly under his arm the brown envelope that contained his credentials.
Near him is Lloyd Lalaguna, a Communication and Media Studies graduate who listed down three preferred qualities sought by call center agencies.
Rendon would like to think that his training in college has an edge over the other job-seekers but he was beginning to be realistic over the uncertain that his engineering diploma could land him a job. He wished he would have been wearing a hard hat by now. “Dili man gyud assurance na pasar ko kay makatrabaho na dayon ko (It’s not an assurance that If I already passed the board exam i could land a job immediately,” he said.
Lalaguna, like those who are familiar with the profession, said he preferred a call center job saying it would practically give him good wage than other jobs offered.
Manuel Ravanes, a computer student, also shares Lalaguna’s view and disclosed that he did not apply for summer jobs because he planned to skip college to work as a call center agent.
“Magtigom sa ko’g kwarta ayha magpadayon ug eskwela (I would save before i;l proceed to college),” he said when asked about the intervention.
Call centers as business most attractive to fresh graduates continued to top other jobs on the fair.
Rogelio Tripoli, in his experienced age of 54 did not despair as he asserts that he is far more practiced than the fresh graduates.
He said he hoped to get hired by any overseas agency with his mechanical engineering diploma.
He is working as a mechanical supervisor in a light equipment business that imports surplus products from Japan.
He finds his current job insufficient to finance the education of his four children, with his eldest going to college. “It’s really difficult these times,” he said.
But Marco Adnesan, 31, said he was seeking a chance for the first time at the jobs fair, a far cry from being a business operator before where he worked. His father was the president of a mining company in Compostela Valley.
“It did not sustain and so it was sold to a big foreign company. I was drawn into mining,” he said, despite the criminology degree he finished.
Now he had to brush shoulders with people he is alike – underemployed.
Statistics from IBON show that 7.3 million people are going through unemployment. This is due to lack of jobs available for every educational program/course colleges and universities offer, he said.
It said that 553,706 graduated college in March and April this year, with a lot of them expressing fear that they would end up being part of the unemployed.
Adahbi Conejos, 26, from Kapalong, Davao del Norte was in her second attempt at the fair. She did not qualify for the age limit of her desired job last year.
“Dili pa man unta ko ana katigulang para dili dawaton (I am not not that old yet to be turned down),” she said as she remembered the strict screening she went through last jobs fair.
Government has been trying to diminish the weight of the unemployed in the country, endorsing all job generation efforts, including jobs fair. Its Technical Education and Skills Training (TESDA) has provided trainings and qualtification standards, especially for aspirants for jobs that need skills training.
Critics has doubted the government’s efficiency to provide jobs, as they criticized certain labor policies that exposed regular workers to the brink of becoming contract workers or working on job orders..
“Cover up yan ng gobyerno para sa pagsulbad sa mga problema sa atong mga manggagawa kay ang mga trabaho di na kailangan na atangan or i-offer (It’s a cover-up to hide the problems of workers),” said Emma V, Ricaforte, executive director of Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc. (NLDF)
“Ginabuhat na nila para i-divert ang attention sa mga pakigbisog sa grupo. Dapat unta iwagtang nang contractualization ug ang uban pa nga mga department orders nga wala nakatabang sa atong grupo (They do it to divert attention from demands of militant workers. Government should remove that policy of contractualizaion and other DOLE orders that bear down on workers),” said general secretary Romualdo Basilio of Kilusan Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao. (davaotoday.com)