SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Close to 5,000 jobseekers braved the long lines outside the Subic Gym in this free port on Thursday as Harbor Point, Ayala Malls’ newest retail development, opened its doors with employment opportunities for residents of local communities.
The two-day job fair, dubbed as “Careers at Harbor Point,” offered almost 2,000 job openings ranging from managerial positions to service staff from 70 participating companies to address the mall merchants’ manpower needs.
During the event’s opening program, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) senior deputy administrator for support services Ramon Agregado expressed optimism that the jobs to be generated at Harbor Point would minimize unemployment in the region.
“We still have around 12 percent unemployment rate in Central Luzon, so in order to address unemployment here, we need to generate an additional 10,000 jobs per year,” Agregado said.
“With almost 1,600 new jobs that are being offered by Harbor Point during this fair, I am confident that we can meet the target this year,” he said.
Agregado also appealed to the merchants to be good employers. “If you treat your employees with utmost professionalism and care, I’m sure that they will give you your money’s worth,” he said.
Likewise, Agregado urged the jobseekers to cherish the opportunities that will come their way. “Sa ating mga manggagawa, sana po pagbutihin ninyo ang pagtatrabaho; maging tapat kayo sa inyong mga employer, maging masigasig, at pagbutihin ninyo ang inyong paghahanapbuhay, nang sa gayon ay magpatuloy ang ating pagunlad,” he said.
The SBMA official also said that the new establishment will be an integral part of SBMA’s vision of turning the Subic Freeport into an eco-urban zone.
Harbor Point, which is expected to fully open in summer of this year, is envisioned to be a unique attraction which will have the qualities usually identified with Subic.
“When people talk about Subic, they always think about vacations, think about being laid back. But then of course, you also have a lot of businesses in the area so we wanted somehow to mix that,” said Javier Hernandez, assistant vice president of Ayala Malls–Ayala Land, Inc.
“The ambiance of the shopping center will be resort like, being laid back, being sports inclined. That’s how we started to develop on how it would look and feel like,” he added.
Hernandez also pointed out that the new mall will be able to generate 10,000 jobs from its construction stage up to its full operation.
Meanwhile, SBMA labor manager Severo Pastor reminded the jobseekers of the importance of work, saying that having a job is not just having employment, but a means of livelihood.
“With a job you can help your family, help send your siblings to school. Jobs also give you dignity, and turn you into productive citizens,” he added.
The two-day job fair is organized by Ayala Malls, in cooperation with the SBMA Labor Center and the Public Employment Service Offices of Olongapo, Zambales and Bataan.