Despite an American lawmaker’s recent proposal to cut down the number of foreign workers in Guam, the US territory’s officials said Wednesday that the projected 15,000 to 20,000 job openings there will still be up for grabs – preferably to Filipinos – come 2010.
“We have affinity for foreign workers, especially for Filipinos," said Guam Senator and Majority Leader Rory Respicio during a press conference held Wednesday at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) office in Mandaluyong.
Respicio made the assurance after US Representative Neil Abercrombie filed a bill that would cut down the percentage of work for foreign workers in the Guam labor market to only 30 percent.
But Guam Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Judith Guthertz said that their Senate will have to pass a similar proposal as Abercrombie’s before it can even take effect. “We do not believe it will pass. He will not get everything he is wishing for," she said.
Guam officials had also earlier expressed their intention to hire Filipino workers for thousands of jobs that would open up during the transfer of the US military bases from Okinawa, Japan to the island in 2010. (See: Pinoys eyed to fill up 15,000 job vacancies in Guam)
“The most likely source of non-US workers for us would be the Philippines," said Guthertz. This, said Respicio, was because “Filipinos are hardworking, they’re loyal, and they’re very, very industrious."
Alfredo Antolin Jr., senior adviser of both Respicio and Guthertz, said that Filipino workers should find this opportunity very promising. “In Guam, they will be making good money, there won’t be exploitation," he said.
For the relocation project, Guam is willing to pay foreign workers at least $12 or almost P590 per hour or about $1,920 a month equivalent to about P94,000.
Moreover, Guthertz said prospective hires will not have to worry about any placement fees because they will be charging the annual $1,000 service free to their contractor. She said the fee collected will go to their manpower development fund used to train their local workers.
“That (the service fee) is something they have to monitor pero magpupulis din naman tayo dito sa atin (but we will also monitor that on our side)," said POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili on the possibility that the burden of the service fee might be passed on to the worker.
Manalili said recruitment for the Guam relocation project will not begin until 2010. She added that they have yet to determine the modes of recruitment.
POEA records showed that as of June 2008, a total of 14, 497 Filipinos were residing and working in Guam. A total of 2,352 Filipino workers have been deployed there since 1998. - GMANews.TV