Before I left the Philippines, there was this big buzz regarding a $2-billion Korean shipyard investment in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. A lot of people were happy, I for one. It would mean more employment for the local people. By local – I do not only mean Villanueva or Tagoloan. It means the whole Northern Mindanao populace. This project would surely boost the economy of the region as well as the whole nation.
It is a shame though that this multi-billion dollar project was discontinued because of political issues (what else). Mayor Paulino Emano of Tagoloan and Mayor Juliet Uy of Villanueva are in the hot spot. These two political figures are being investigated concerning an alleged extortion situation. Honestly, I do not believe anymore in the sincerity of our government officials. I am not stereo-typing but I hope that the truth will prevail.
You maybe wondering why I feel so strongly about this issue. Well, the shipyard project was supposed to be built beside the power plant I worked for. I know how important these foreign investment to locals. For me, it changed my life. It got better. I just got lucky though because when I was employed, the “local employment” bullshit was no big deal that time. I was hired because my superior believed in my capabilities and skills, and NOT because the mayor recommended me. I was just a plain lass in a far flung place.
One thing that I strongly disagree is – the hiring of incompetent workers. I know that they have this MOA somewhere stating that workers must be locals. BUT come on, it is an investment, NOT a charity. Are the tax monies collected from these foreign investments not enough? If you are the owner of a company, would you hire a farmer for the position of a welder? They are building ships for goodness sake! Also, why limit employment only to municipalities geographically involved, when you could find qualified workers in the nearby towns?
Anyway, just my two cents.