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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Interfaith jobs fair caps harmony week celebration in Basilan

By Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY – An interfaith job fair marked the observance of this year’s Harmony Week celebration in Basilan with some 4,246 job vacancies for domestic and overseas up for grabs.

In commemoration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week with the theme, “Celebrating Interfaith Harmony Week: A Journey Toward World Peace,” the Interfaith Council of Leaders (IFCL) in Basilan and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) organized a one-day jobs fair last Feb. 3.

In his message, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad appealed for public’s sobriety to hold on to the aspiration for peace in parts of Mindanao following the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) last Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Let us not be affected by our emotion, we have to be rational and reasonable,” he said.

The Bishop added that what creates an environment of peace is to bring investments and create job opportunities. He also encouraged job seekers to be instruments of peace.

“We can attain peace if we have decent jobs. We thank our partners here for bringing our job providers here,” he said as he told job seekers to take the opportunity and be instruments of peace by having a decent job in order to provide for the basic needs of their families.

“Let us remember that job opportunities can thrive only in an environment of peace,” he stressed.

Acting Assistant Regional Director Albert E. Gutib of DOLE-9 said “the agency recognizes that poverty continue to remain a social crisis for every country and that the agency is mandated to facilitate job generation to uproot families in the miseries of poverty.”

“Harmony should be every day and not only during harmony week. Poverty has been here, let us help one another in this quest as this is part of employment facilitation service of the department of bringing government closer to the people,” he said.

As DOLE brought employers, Gutib encouraged the job seekers to take advantage of their presence. He also encouraged those choosing to go abroad “to think it over and over and consult the family as working abroad is not very easy especially when we are receiving not so good news about the plight of some OFWs.”

Only two domestic employers were present at the jobs fair. Most job seekers, however, are seeking employment overseas believing it provides better pay than local employment.

Moreover, DOLE-Isabela City chief Engr. Wesly Tan said “while there is a good number of employment opportunities abroad, DOLE revealed that job mismatch remains a challenge as most job seekers do not have the required skills for the job available.”

Joel Zanoria, IFCL Coordinator for Basilan said that the Silsilah Dialogue Movement spearheads the observance of the Harmony Week and tapped the IFCL as the focal organization to lead the celebration here.

“We want to show to the world that although we live in a pluralistic society we can come up with concrete activity such as jobs fair for Muslims and Christians alike; that we can peacefully co-exist with one another. With the Mamasapano incident, we know the pain, but we need to move forward,” he said.

Zanoria further appealed to peace-loving Basilenos to transcend beyond religion and live a life that has respect for each other’s culture.