MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos can look forward to being employed in Guam. About 15,000 jobs await foreign workers in the US territory where Filipinos are preferred.
The vacancies in Guam will be for next year's transfer of the US military bases from Okinawa, Japan to the island, which will cost about $10.3 billion, according to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Jennifer Manalili.
Edwin Beech, chairperson of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (Pasei), is optimistic that Guam will hire Filipinos because of their known professionalism and hard work.
“Guam does not have enough people and they are an aging population so they need foreign workers. Wala naman silang ibang makukuhanan [Guam doesn’t have anywhere else to get workers from). So it’s almost in the bag," Beech told GMANews.TV in an interview on Tuesday after the lunch meeting of POEA and Pasei officials with a Guam delegation led by Gov. Felix Perez Camacho in Makati City.
According to the 2007 Stock Estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, a total of 22,567 Filipinos had worked and resided in Guam.
Manalili said Filipinos would not spend much for their job applications in Guam because the US government had recently declared that there should be no placement fee in the recruitment of foreign workers in the mainland and the territories.
For the relocation project, Guam is willing to pay foreign workers $11 or more than P500 per hour or about $2,200 a month equivalent to about P100,000, according to Pasei officer Noel Litan.
Manalili, however, said the recruitment has not yet started.
“We’d also like to caution (Filipino workers) because we’re still in the middle of discussion. Pag nag-start 'yong project dun pa lang may vacancies, ngayong 2009 wala pa naman, kaya ayaw muna naming i-announce," said the POEA chief.
[When the project starts, that’s the only time when there will be job vacancies, right now there are no openings yet, that’s why we didn’t want to announce it yet.]
But the Guam governor assured the Philippines that the territory is working hard to settle the deal.
“We can make it work but we first need to find a balance between what the US and Japanese government and private contractors want," he said. - KIMBERLY JANE T. TAN, GMANews.TV