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Thousands of job seekers flock to Labor Day fairs in Pampanga

_:Catherine Serrano, a graduate with a degree in business administration from one of the universities in this province, was among the early birds in the Labor Day job and business fairs held on Sunday at the Kingsborough International Convention Center here.

Like many new graduates and other job applicants who trooped to the “Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan” event, Serrano is looking forward to landing her first job.

She admitted feeling the pressure on finding employment opportunities after being forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

But upon learning about the one-day activity spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in time for the 120th Labor Day celebration in the country, Serrano said she now has high hopes of gaining employment.

“I am excited to apply for a job for the first time. The feeling of anxiety is there, of course. But I am determined to get employed. I think this job fair is a perfect opportunity for me to land a job,” she said in an interview.

Thousands of job seekers trooped for over 27,000 vacancies offered in this job and business fairs anchored on the theme “Matatag na Negosyo, Matatag na Trabaho.”

DOLE regional director Geraldine Panlilio said there is a heavy turnout of job applicants being offered by some 120 employers.

“As early as 7 a.m., there are lots of applicants who came here waiting for the formal opening of the employment activity,” Panlilio said.

Job seeker Jonathan De Lara, an information technology graduate, said he is a bit nervous and excited as it is also his first time applying for work.

“I hope I will be able to impress my prospective employer and be one of those hired on (the) spot,” he said.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello, who led the formal opening of the Labor Day jobs and business fairs here, said the first 50 applicants that will be hired on the spot will also receive a livelihood grant worth PHP20,000.

Aside from that, Bello also said 20 nego-karts (business in a cart) will be distributed to qualified beneficiaries.

During the fair, applicants also took the opportunity to avail of pre-employment services being offered by DOLE’s partner agencies, such as Social Security System, PhilHealth, Philippine Statistics Authority, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Various micro, small and medium enterprises and DOLE livelihood beneficiaries’ products were also showcased and made available for display and for sale during the event.

Other highlights of the event include the awarding of safety seal certificates to 10 companies in the region that complied with the minimum health standards set by the government, the distribution of salaries to 412 beneficiaries of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), and the payout of salaries to 567 Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) beneficiaries.