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PIA Press Release

Flag-raising, early job fair mark 111th Independence Day in Basilan

By Rene V. Carbayas

Isabela City de Basilan (15 June) -- A simple flag-raising ceremony and floral offering at Plaza Rizal shrine marked the celebration and observance of the Philippine's 111th Independence Day in Isabela City, Basilan in the morning of June 12, 2009.

Major Bayani Curaming PN(M) of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-1 and Isabela City Police Chief Col. Albert Larubis led the traditional hoisting of the Philippine flag followed by the floral offering from various government agencies and non-government groups.

On behalf of the City Mayor, City Administrator Jun Nuņal only greeted and thanked the assembly for their presence. Since it was a national non-working holiday, most of those present were city government employees and representatives from government agencies, the Philippine Marines and the police, and some individuals from the private and religious sector.

In an interview, Mr. Nuņal said this celebration should remind us and the youth, more importantly, about celebrating the Philippine Independence. "They [the youth] don't give much attention to this kind of celebration," he lamented but challenged further to continue celebrating this significant event with the help of government line agencies to work together in order to educate the young people.

Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, meanwhile, expresed his greetings to the Filipino people hoping that "this celebration will remind us that nobody must enslave us but instead we have to assert our freedom by really relying on the wisdom of God. And in that way, we can also [assert] to the legislators in particular that to enact laws contrary to morality is not in line with the celebration of Independence Day."

The Bishop stressed that "our freedom must bring us to real liberation which is freedom from sin, freedom from oppression, and freedom from selfish interests."

Earlier on June 4, 2009, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-IX with the support of the Provincial Government of Basilan hosted the first provincial-wide Job and Livelihood Fairs in Basilan, held at the Provincial Capitol building in Isabela City.

The 1-day job fair attracted some 695 job-seekers, where 343 are male and 352 are female, DOLE-Isabela City official Mr. Ian A. Lahi reported. The job fair in Basilan was the first leg of the DOLE's series of job fairs in the Peninsula region that will culminate in Dipolog City come June 29-30.

While the fair attracted a number of job-seekers, some applicants and recruitment agencies agree that most of the participants are ill-prepared for the fair. Some applicants complain that they learned about the job fair only on that day so they were not able to prepare the necessary requirements.

This was also observed by the MMML Recruitment Services, Inc. Project Coordinator Leopoldo B. Zerrudo Jr who noted that aside from job-mismatch, the applicants are ill-advised as to getting into job application, especially on job fairs. He said that applicants should have prepared already sets of their resume, copies of their birth certificates, passport, driver's license, pictures, and other supporting papers on hand when shopping for jobs on job fairs.

Mr. Zerrudo, moreover, appealed to Malacaņang to give more attention and support to provincial job fairs, especially in this part of the country. He said that there is a minimal chance for applicants from provinces to land for a job overseas, not much for domestic helpers, but especially for skilled workers as many employers do not travel to the provinces to conduct final interviews. Since Manila areas provide a vast number of jobless individuals, it would only be logical for the employers to visit Manila instead.

He said that most of the final interviews and processing of papers are being conducted in Metro Manila where provincial applicants are required to appear yet assurance for job placement is uncertain.

Dubbed as Kalayaan 2009 with the theme: "Kagitingan, Kagalingan at Kasipagan Tungo sa Tunay na Kalayaan" the provincial fair also included the ceremonial awarding of livelihood funding check by DOLE to Panigayan Fishersfolks Association worth Php 216,933.00 through the Local Government Unit of Isabela City.

Lahi said that 9,000 jobs are up for grabs for overseas alone. The job fair was participated by the following recruitment agencies: MMML Recruitment Services, Inc.; Active Works, Inc.; Verde International Manpower Services; Al-Alamia International Manpower Services; Malorata International Manpower Agency; Nonstop Overseas Employment Corporation; and New Era Placement Agency Co. Some Zamboanga City-based companies also participated who needs sales managers and representatives, factory wokers, and call center services, among others.

Celebrating Philippine Independence Day, highlighting jobs fair, is part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's project under the Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP)-the government's response to reduce the impact of the global economic recession to Filipinos. (PIA9-BST) [top]

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