Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Subic needs more skilled workers, SBMA exec says

Students urged to take up non-traditional courses

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have urged students in this premier Freeport to take non-traditional courses that offer good employment opportunities as the labor market continually needs workers for technical and vocational jobs.

“There is a consistent demand for highly skilled workers in the Subic Bay Freeport,” SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said.

He said, however, that most of the companies that continue to expand or choose to locate their investments here despite the current recession require specific skills that cannot be acquired from traditional schools.

“This is a clear indication of where the Subic Freeport is headed in terms of job creation, and so we must act accordingly,” Arreza said.

The SBMA official also said that the employment generation trend in Subic appears to revolve around five major investment areas that have showed growth amid the global slowdown. These are logistics, manufacturing (other than electronics), tourism, business process outsourcing (BPO), and other knowledge-based industries that account for the 30 new investment projects here that were signed in the first quarter of 2009.

“The top two biggest investments here in the first quarter that amounted to P975.2 million and P201 million, respectively, are maritime-related,” said Arreza, noting that one of the new investors, HSY-Yacht Phils. Ltd. Co., needs 100 workers for its yacht restoration operations.

“Now, is there a four-year course that teaches you yacht restoration?” he asked.

Arreza said that Subic’s booming maritime sector is constantly in need of skilled workers as the shipbuilding industry here is on full-scale production, and dry dock operations increase when shipping lines found Subic Bay an ideal place to lay up their vessels.

Noting that maritime facilities are mushrooming in Subic, Arreza advised students and job seekers, as well as parents and teachers, to monitor labor developments and prepare themselves by acquiring the needed skills.

“It is the task of the SBMA to always look ahead, and we advise everyone concerned to do the same,” Arreza also said.

Meanwhile, SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga, a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy and a commodore in the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, cited the need for specialized courses aimed at producing marine engineers knowledgeably in naval architecture, design and construction.

Salonga said the SBMA is intent on further developing the Subic Bay Freeport as a full-brown maritime logistics and service hub, as mandated by President Arroyo’s 10 point development program.

--By. Jonas Reyes – Manila Bulletin

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