By: Liza Agoot
BAGUIO CITY — Being productive is not an issue of age, but the determination to find a living, to help provide for the family’s needs.
Maximo Buenaventura, a 58-year-old former overseas Filipino worker (OFW), was among the hundreds who tried his luck in the “Kalayaan Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan” fair on June 12 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the local government of Baguio held in one of the malls in the city.
Maximo is among those who submitted their documents to prospective employers for local and foreign job placement.
He applied as a mason with GFI Manpower placement agency, one of the 35 agencies offering 815 different jobs abroad.
“Nag-aapply ako dahil gusto ko pang makatulong sa aking pamilya kahit may edad na rin ako. Marami naman tayong expenses na kailangan, food natin, yung mga benefits natin ,yung ilaw, tubig natin babayaran. Kailangan ko pa rin magtrabaho (I’m applying because I want to continue helping my family despite my age. We have a lot of expenses on food, benefits, electricity, water, and other needs that we need to pay so we still need to work),” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Maximo worked as a mason in Libya for several years and moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a job contract with an American consortium company doing a project in KSA. In Riyadh, he received a salary of 1700 Riyals monthly or almost PHP23,600 a month aside from overtime pay.
Prior to going abroad, he was a laborer in the city but sought greener pastures abroad.
His contract ended in January and came home. When he learned about the job fair, he immediately grabbed the opportunity, having in mind the positive thought that he could go back again, work abroad where employees get higher pay.
He lauded the government for coming up with a venue for people who are looking for a job.
“Kasi napakaganda din na nagkakaroon ng job fair na ganito kagaya ng sinabi ko kanina, mabibigyan pa ng oportunidad o chance ‘yung mga matatanda na may kaya pa at malakas pa [magtrabaho] sa local or sa abroad (the job fair is very good as it provides an opportunity or chance even for the old people like me who is still strong to work locally or abroad),” Maximo said.
He said that as a father, he has the responsibility to continue providing for himself, his wife and his children.
Preparing for old age
Maximo said that one of their expenses is paying for social benefits, which will secure his and his wife’s old age pension.
He said his children are already working but they have their own families to support now, and he does not want to be a burden to his children while he can still manage to earn a living.
“Kaka-uwi ko lang [galing] sa Metro Riyadh sa KSA, sa Saudi Arabia, four months ko pa lang dito sa Philippines gusto kong bumalik kaya nga nung lumabas itong job fair natin kaya ako nagpursigi na makapunta dito baka sakaling matanggap pa ako sa abroad (I just came home from Metro Riyadh in Saudi Arabia four months ago but I want to go back to work abroad that is why when I learned about his job fair I came to take my chances),” he said.
Despite his age, he is hopeful that he will still be accepted for work abroad, which gives higher pay.
Exequiel Roni Guzman, regional director of the DOLE in the Cordillera said the job fair is organized to allow people to apply for available jobs here and abroad as it links job hunters and employers.
The job fair organized in the city has been recorded as one of the successful events for job seekers, recording a 14.6 percent hire-on-the-spot rate, he said.
At the job fair, around 1 p.m., there were 25 who were hired on the spot — 13 for local and 12 for overseas job placement.
Guzman said that the job fair in Baguio is conducted every May 1, June 12 and for the charter day anniversary of the city every September 1. (With Argielynne Gem Ramos, OJT/PNA)