Guam needs more OFWs, says governor

Published by rudy Date posted on July 1, 2009

Filipino workers can land jobs in Guam as the US territory was in need of about 15,000 workers for infrastructure projects that would pave the way for the transfer of US military bases there, the governor of Guam said Tuesday.

Gov. Felix Camacho of Guam, who was in the country for a trade mission, told reporters that $15-billion worth of investments has been infused to put up military bases and support facilities on the island. About 8,000 US Marines and their dependents numbering about 9,000 will be transferred from the US bases in Okinawa, Japan, to Guam beginning next year until 2014.

Camacho said Guam would need more workers to finish construction activities on time. “We anticipate a need of additional workers. This offers great opportunities for Filipino manpower.”

The governor added that workers would be recruited beginning next year for the construction of the military facilities and “outside-the-fence” support and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, airports, seaports, sources of drinking water supply, sewers, power plants and utilities. Also, amenities for the civilian population would be put up, he added.

David Tydingco, Younex International Corp. senior vice president, said that from constructors’ perspective, many Filipino workers would likely make the cut as they were fluent in English, and they possessed the skill sets gained from their experiences in construction jobs abroad.

Healthcare workers needed

Camacho said that the employment opportunities on the island were not limited to construction work.

He cited Guam’s lack of healthcare professionals. The governor said Filipino doctors, nurses and occupational therapists could flock the island as long as they are eligible and licensed under US laws and immigration codes.

Camacho added that beginning November this year until 2014, Guam would be exempted from the quota imposed by the US federal government on the entry of healthcare workers.

“We anticipate a minimum of 25-percent growth in our [Guam’s] population [because of the military buildup] in a matter of four to six years, so there’s a need for [more healthcare professionals],” he said.

Camacho added that the government of Guam has not determined any particular quantity of these employment opportunities to be specifically allocated for Filipino workers, as natives of neighboring islands such as the Marianas, Micronesia and Palau will also be screened for these jobs.

“[These job opportunities are] not exclusive to Filipinos, but from what we understand most will be recruited from the Philippines,” he said.

Tydingco said foreign workers in Guam can also earn the same wage levels as locals—between $12 and as much as $25 a day, depending on the job.

The Philippines’ Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, he added, would soon establish a liaison office in Guam to facilitate the entry of Filipino workers there.

Camacho noted that after the World War II, Filipinos came to Guam to help in the reconstruction of the island. About a third of Guam’s current population has Filipino roots, he said.  –Ben Arnold O. De Vera, Reporter, Manila Times

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