Undaunted by Declining Job Prospects, Hundreds Troop to the Mall

Apr. 06, 2006

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Story by Germelina A. Lacorte
Photos by Barry Ohaylan

DAVAO CITY — Lured by the promise of exciting jobs in travel and tourism, thousands of jobseekers trooped this week to a tourism jobs fair in a shopping mall here. Tourism secretary Ace Durano said the fair would create 33,000 jobs for the travel and tourism-related industries nationwide.

Among those who lined up was Peter Premallon, a 21-year-old BS Mathematics graduate from Sultan Kudarat, who has just ended his teaching contract with the Mati Polytechnic College in Davao Oriental in March. Private schools are no longer hiring regular teachers now, so, I’m trying my luck, he said.

He could no longer afford to be choosy, Premallon said. He will look for a job here or abroad. He will even work as clerk for an oil company, if no other option comes his way.

The Philippine Labor Force Survey preliminary report released in January showed a sharp rise in the number of the underemployed, or persons who desired additional hours of work in the country: from 5.1 million in 2004 to 6.9 million last year.

Underemployment is a situation in which a worker is employed, but not in the desired capacity, whether in terms of compensation, hours, or level of skill and experience, according to investorswords.com.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) organized the tourism jobs fair as a one-stop shop for employers and potential workers, where they can meet, assess each other’s needs and create what is called an employment match.

Durano, who switched on the online tourism jobs registration here Tuesday, said the fair will prove that there’s money and employment in tourism. The switching allows jobseekers nationwide to access the list of job vacancies just by logging in to www.tourismjobs.ph.

Durano said more travel-related firms, like the Philippine Airlines (PAL), are now briskly recruiting workers. Efren Elbanbuena, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) regional director who also sits in the jobs fair executive committee, said more companies from Singapore, Malaysia and the entire Southeast Asian region have posted online their needs for more waiters, cooks, hotel boys, chambermaids and other hotel service jobs.

But among the 70 firms joining the fair, the Waterfront Insular Hotel will only be hiring two accounting personnel this year, according to Guia Santos, peers services department manager.

Santos said the hiring will be coursed through a recruitment agency because the jobs they need will be on contract. She did not deny that the hotel limits their workers’ contracts below six months because the hotel could not afford to hire more regular workers.

The demand in the tourism market has always been fluctuating that the hotel could not afford to hire more regular workers, said Santos. Of the 350 workers that the hotel currently employs, only 150 are regular ones, said Felipe Pabilic, marketing communications officer.

Other companies that aggressively posted their hiring at the tourism fair included Careplus International Services Inc., which is in need of housemaids, babysitter, lady drivers and cook; and Global Staff Recruitment Search Inc., in need of medical representative, human resource assistant, telemarketers.

As early as 10 o’clock, when the NCCC Mall here opened, jobseekers lined up before the onsite registration area on the mall’s fourth floor.

Like Premallon, they’re mostly young people desperately looking for jobs. They fell into very long lines that snaked around the huge NCCC convention and exhibition center area where 20 computers registered their names online.

Durano said the tourism jobs fair will fulfill part of the promise of President Arroyo’s 10-point agenda, which includes creating six to 10 million jobs nationwide.(Germelina A. Lacorte/davaotoday.com)

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