The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Mimaropa held two job fairs in Palawan on May 1 as part of the Labor Day celebrations.

DOLE Mimaropa Regional Director, Naomi Lyn Abellana said they chose Palawan to host the region’s Labor Day celebration since the province’s location puts its laborers at a disadvantage in seeking jobs.0

“It would be very hard for the job seekers to seek employment out of Palawan, because you would spend too much on transportation. While in other islands like Mindoro and Marinduque they have access to Batangas. Mura lang ang pamasahe doon,” Abellana said.

Two job fairs were held simultaneously on Wednesday. The job fair at SM City Puerto Princesa hosted 27 local and two overseas employers who sought to fill a total of 842 job vacancies. The job fair at the municipal covered court of El Nido had 11 participating employers, all local, who sought to fill 180 job vacancies.

Abellana noted that while there was no disaggregated data for the provinces, the regional unemployment rate in Mimaropa remained at 3-3.4%.

“Kung titingnan mo sa statistics if you have an unemployment rate of three point something you call that one, that we have a full employment. Maganda po ang picture, but it doesn’t mean that if we have a very low unemployment rate that we have to stop reaching out. We have to mold the youth positively so that they can be independent,” she remarked, adding on that the ages of hopeful employees who go to their job fairs every year ranged from “15 until forever.”

The labor day job fair in Puerto Princesa was preceded by a Walk for A Cause, where participants walked from city baywalk to SM City Puerto Princesa. The proceeds from the walk went to programs seeking to end child labor in Mimaropa.

“Mas bumaba na ngayon [ang number ng child laborers], but we cannot discount the fact na ito ngang problemang ito ay di mo masasabing totally eliminated because there will always be new families going in. Families na ito, may mga anak na, they would go into working and help augment the income. (…) I-mitigate na lang natin, maibsan man lang, gawa tayo ng paraan para hindi siya maging isang malaking problema,” Abellana said.

Present during the program were Assistant Regional Director for DOLE Mimaropa Nicanor Bon, TSSD Chief for DOLE Mimaropa Marjun Moreno, Provincial Director for DOLE Palawan Dr. Carlo Villaflores, City PESO Manager Bong Lopez, and SM City Puerto Princesa Mall Manager Maidja Saliente.