SBMA workers back to 135,000 despite Hanjin closure

CLARK FREEPORT -- The number of employees at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has increased despite the closure of its biggest employer Hanjin shipyard.

A report from the SBMA mentioned that steady growth in investments in the first half of this year has increased the number of workers to 135,224 compared to the 133,940 record in the same period last year.

"We're back to more than P135,000 active workers now, which is just a shade lower than our 2018 yearend record of 135,690. But by the end of this year,

we are confident that we would again break this 2018 employment record," SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said.

Eisma said the Freeport is getting a steady increase in the number of new investments, as well as expansion projects that are expected to correspond to steady increase in the number of new jobs.

Among the industries here, the service sector hired the biggest number with a total of 92,453 workers or 68.37 percent of the total workforce employed by a total of 2,765 companies as of July this year. In June 2018, the record

was 76,652 workers (57.23 percent) hired by 2,470 companies.

In the manufacturing industry, there are now 23,031 employees (17.03 percent) working for 88 companies here in the first half of this year. Last year, there were 18,197 employees (13.59 percent) working for 85 companies in this category.

In the construction sector, there were 11,729 workers (8.67 percent) hired by 199 companies as of the first half of this year. Last year, there were 10,868 employees (8.115) working for 185 companies.

Eisma said the rehabilitation of various infrastructure facilities inside the Freeport, including roads, had significantly increased the number of workers hired by construction companies here.

She also said that there has been a 450 percent drop in the number of employees working in shipbuilding and marine-related services after the Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Philippines Inc. filed for bankruptcy last January.

SBMA records indicated a total of 5,901 workers (4.36 percent) hired by 96 firms as of the first half of 2019, compared to 26,559 (19.83 percent) hired by 110 companies in the first half of 2018.

Another sector that showed positive gain in the first half was the number of domestic helpers or caretakers employed at residences in the Freeport. This increased to a total of 2,110 (1.57 percent) from a total of 1,664 in the same period last year.

SBMA data also showed that there are more male employees in the Subic workforce today, with a total of 91,190 (67.44 percent) compared to 44,034 females (32.56 percent).

However, the females are catching up considering that there were just 39,079 female workers (29.18 percent) in Subic last year, compared to 94,861 (70.82 percent) males.

Among the sources of manpower, Olongapo City remained to be the biggest provider in the first half of 2019 with a total of 59,107 workers (43.71 percent), followed by Zambales with 28,855 (21.34 percent); Bataan, 18,501 (13.68 percent); National Capital Region, 4,642 (3.43 percent); Pampanga, 3,574 (2.64 percent); and Tarlac, 1,679 (1.24 percent). Other areas contributed a total of 18,866 workers, or 13.95 percent.

Eisma said the SBMA expects a continuing growth in employment generation with the 45 new investments and 21 expansion projects the agency approved in the first six months this year.

The new investment commitments worth more than P5 billion are projected to generate close to 4,000 new jobs, Eisma added.


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