Over 29,000 jobseekers flock to gov't fairs on Labor Day

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 1) — Thousands of applicants registered at the government's job fairs on May 1, Labor Day, in hopes of getting employment, with nearly 4,000 hired on the spot.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said 29,193 jobseekers visited career expos across the country, of whom 3,975 were recruited immediately. It said the top positions filled were service crew, cashier, admin and service contractor personnel, office staff, and laborer or helper.

The numbers showed there were more women than men recorded in the job fairs. The DOLE said 15,402 female jobseekers registered while 13,791 were male. For those instantly employed, 2,132 were female and 1,843 were male.

The agency reported that job-hunters sought assistance for training, livelihood, and entrepreneurship opportunities and availed of its one-stop shop for government services.

Others were referred to other participating agencies such as the Technical Education And Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), it added.

Meanwhile, in the mega job fair held by the DMW in Mandaluyong, around 15,000 job openings in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hungary, and the United States, among others, are up for grabs. Recruitment agencies were looking for skilled workers like nurses, engineers, seamen, construction, and restaurant workers.

From Batangas, Eugenia De Guia went to the fair eyeing a career as a cleaner or a factory worker.

"Mas maganda kasi ang benefits sa abroad. Dito kahit OT ka ng 12 hours, maliit pa rin 'yung kita compared sa abroad," De Guia told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: Benefits abroad are better. Here, even if you render 12 hours of overtime, you will still earn a meager income compared to overseas work.]

Speaking to CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon, Rosanna Urdaneta, TESDA director general for policies and planning, said TESDA programs could equip Filipinos seeking job opportunities abroad the needed industry competencies and soft skills.

She admitted that it's a reality that Filipinos "want greener pastures."

"When we prepare and develop programs, we prepare that this person becomes globally competitive," Urdaneta said. "Kahit saan siya pumunta [Wherever he or she goes], he [or she] can be at par with any individual coming from different countries and regions."

DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia said the agency opted to conduct a physical job fair to prevent online scams.

"Kung maniningil ng recruitment fee ang isang ahensya, dapat pirmado na ang overseas employment certificate niya at meron na siyang employment contract," he reminded jobseekers.

[Translation: If agencies will ask for a recruitment fee, the overseas employment certificate must be already signed by applicants and they already have an employment contract.]

In its Labor Day celebration on Saturday, DOLE said hearings for the minimum wage hike petitions filed across the country are underway but there's no certainty when the Regional Wage Board will release its decision.

"Hindi ko pwedeng sabihing bilisan ninyo, bagalan ninyo," Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma told reporters. "Alam nila ang kanilang obligasyon na dapat aksyunan. May mga time frame 'yan na tinatawag."

[Translation: I cannot dictate the board's speed. They know their obligations on addressing these but there is a time frame for that.]

It assured the public that it is coordinating with government agencies to give workers non-wage benefits in the meantime.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.