MANILA, Philippines—As labor militants individuals condemned contractual employment, among other things, in rallies across the country, other people kept themselves busy doing something else on Labor Day: They applied for mostly contractual jobs.
At the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, for example, hundreds of people had begun lining up to be among the first to apply for a position at 10 a.m., the time the doors of the mall were to open, and the start of the job fair organized by the Department of Labor and Employment, and the city’s Public Employment and Services Office (Peso).
According to Emma Javier, Peso head, the number of registered applicants stood at 612 before 11 a.m. and ballooned to more than 1,000 by noon, with some 2,000 still waiting in line outside by police estimates.
Javier said local job vacancies, ranging from managerial to unskilled positions, numbered 6,619, and overseas ones at 1,400, “more than enough,” she said, to accommodate the expected applicants.
The vacancies, however, were contractual in nature, she admitted, with two-year contracts offered by six overseas potential employers. If hired, registrants could be deployed to Canada and Kuwait, among other places, as head waiters and engineers, she said.
Fifty-five local companies, she said, offered six-month contracts.
Most of the applicants, whose ages ranged from 18 to 30, were looking for jobs as service workers (fastfood crew, sales representatives), clerks (pharmacy assistants, call center agents) and as unskilled workers (janitor, messenger), Javier said.
A “smaller percentage,” she said, looked for jobs as skilled workers, managers, professionals and associate professionals.
“Even those with a degree prefer to apply for a service crew position because they say it’s easier to get hired,” Javier said.
She said that overall, the number of participants was “overwhelming” compared with that of last year’s job fair. According to her, participants then poured in only by late afternoon.
“But this year, they were already lined up since this morning,” she said.
Mark Sierra, who was seated on the stair landing when approached by the Inquirer, said the process was “pretty fast,” adding that the fact that the mall was air-conditioned made the wait “more bearable.”
He lamented, however, that the vacancies offered in the fair were contractual in nature.
“The government should take that out already. When hired, we should all become permanent workers,” he said.
He was quick to add, however, that applying for a contractual job was better than rallying on the streets.
“What will I do there? Instead of looking for a job, I’d be shouting? I don’t think so,” he said.
His cousin Charmlaqui Bautista agreed. “Nothing’s going to come out of rallying,” he said. With Jhesset Enano and Mariejo Ramos, student trainees