Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Former Subic workers to have first crack at jobs in Guam

OLONGAPO CITY—Workers at the former US naval base here may soon find the opportunity to land jobs in Guam with the impending transfer of US military facilities there from Okinawa, Japan, Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. disclosed yesterday.

Gordon said Guam will entail massive construction projects worth more than $20 billion which will include military facilities and installations, housing and other support infrastructure.

Most manpower requirements will come from Olongapo where thousands lost their jobs when the Americans withdrew from Subic in 1992. Subic workers were trained to meet the working standards of the US military, which is an advantage.

“This is a good opportunity for Filipinos who used to work in Subic naval base, once the largest American military facility outside of continental United States,” said Gordon.

He said they would be handy on the job as their skills and experience in working for the US military give them the edge over other prospective recruits.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration estimates that some 15,000 to 20,000 jobs would be available in Guam mostly in construction-related projects such as carpenters, masons, electricians, heavy equipment operators, pipefitters, painters, welders, and the like.

Some of those laid off after the bases pullout were later given priority to work in various American military bases in the US and other countries while others who ventured overseas on their own were guaranteed employment armed with US military base experience.

Gordon said that US naval authorities used to heap praises at Subic workers for being “honest, highly skilled and industrious.”

“When the Americans left, the base employees did not lose hope. They were among the first to volunteer by manning the power plant, fire station and other vital facilities in Subic. Now, they’re back in business,” the mayor quipped.

The city government is now preparing a profile/database of former base workers that will be provided to the POEA.
--Manila Standard Today

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