SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Jan 21 - Employment figures here reached 55,875 at the end of 2004, reaffirming the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority's (SBMA) commitment to uplift the living condition of Central Luzon residents by generating more job opportunities.
"The continuing development of Subic is essential for the employment opportunities it creates for the people. The investments we bring into the Freeport directly translate into more jobs for our fellowmen," said SBMA administrator Alfredo C. Antonio.
According to the SBMA Labor Department's periodical report, the total manpower in the Freeport last year reached 55,875, posting a nine per cent increase from 2003 figures.
Department manager Severo Pastor said a total of 32,812 applicants were hired by Freeport locators in 2004 but only 4,389 new jobs were added to 2003 figures due to cases of resignations or end-of-contracts.
Statistics showed that the top employers in Subic were service-oriented companies engaged in various tourism-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, duty-free shops, trading and transportations, among others, which hired 33,322 workers or 59.64 per cent of the total year-end figure.
Manufacturing companies, which employed a total of 18,636 workers or 33,35 per cent of total hires, maintained their position as the second biggest Freeport employer while a total of 3,371 workers or 6.03 per cent were hired by construction outfits.
Pastor said that investors, particularly those engaged in manufacturing, banked on the skills and knowledge of Filipino workers, which he believed, was one of the aspects that contributed to the Freeport's increased export figure of US$712 million last year.
Olongapo City, where 26,847 workers or 48.05 per cent of workers in the Freeport come from, remains the biggest source of workers for Subic investors.
A total of 9,841 workers or 17.61 per cent are from Zambales, while 8,260 or 14.78 per cent from Bataan and 1,765 or 3.16 per cent from Pampanga.
Meanwhile, Antonio assured that the Freeport would generate more new jobs this year as five new manufacturing firms have pledged to infuse some P1.87 billion worth of investments into Subic.
In addition to the entry of new investors, Antonio also noted the expansion programs to be implemented soon by Japanese firms at the Subic Techno Park (STEP) such as computer micro-motor maker Nidec and automated teller machine (ATM) manufacturer Top Mechatronic Corp. (Subic).
"The continued growth of Subic will definitely have a positive impact not only on its neighboring towns and cities but also on the rest of Central Luzon," he said.
Nidec is set to open some 600 new jobs to nearby residents in a mini job fair which will be held on Monday at the Rizal Triangle covered court from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m