Job Fair offers chance for 77-year-old job hunter

BAGUIO CITY: Evelyn Cotaran, 77, hoped to land a job through the Kalayaan (Independence) Day Job Fair in this city on Wednesday despite her age. Lola Evelyn was among the hundreds of job applicants who hoped to get employment or a better job position with the help of the event organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - Cordillera in a mall here. The fair offered 1,559 job vacancies from more than 40 private companies and government agencies in the region. In a media interview on the sidelines of the event, Lola Evelyn said she worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong for 31 years. 'I worked from 1985 to 2017. I came home in 2017 because I wanted to go home. I have been looking for local employment ever since but they said I am already old and I am not capable of working anymore,' she said in Filipino. Lola Evelyn said she is taking medicines for high blood pressure but is strong enough to work. She said being single and not working as much as when she was younger bores her, hence, the goal to land a job as a housekeeper. Assisted by the DOLE in accomplishing her form, Lola Evelyn was referred to Valley Bread, a local bakeshop and pastry company that has its main office in La Trinidad, Benguet, and several branches in Benguet and Baguio City. Kennerly Bejar Minas, human resource coordinator of Valley Bread who interviewed Lola Evelyn, said they 'will review her application and will contact her of the company's decision.' She said that while she was surprised to see a senior citizen applying for a job, her company's door does not close to the elderly. 'We have a 70-year-old cook in our café. The possibility for her joining the company is being assigned as part of the production crew or sanitation crew,' she said. The Anti-Age Discrimination Act or Republic Act 10911, which took effect in July 2016, 'prohibits age-based discrimination in employment, including discriminatory advertisements, age requirements during application, and unfair treatment in terms of compensation, promotion, and retirement, with exceptions for bona fide occupational qualifications and seniority.' A DOLE-Cordillera employee who assisted Lola Evelyn said the form he helped her fill out would be in the directory of the agency and would be uploaded into the department's registration platform. 'We will post it in the system so that if there is any company or employer who is looking for the qualification that she has, they can get in touch with her,' he said. Freedom from joblessness DOLE-Cordillera Director Nathaniel Lacambra, during the job fair opening program, said the event aims 'to free us from the bonds of poverty.' 'This is one way of liberating us, giving independence to our people from hardships that they are particularly experiencing now,' Lacambra said. He said DOLE-Cordillera extends livelihood starter kits so that people who could not find jobs would have sources of income, attain independence, and stand on their own to survive. Lacambra thanked the employers who joined the job fair, saying, 'Today, yo u will make many people happy. You will receive applicants and you will be able to feed many families.' Irene Peralta, North Luzon regional human resource officer of SM City Malls, in a separate interview, said they have about 800 job vacancies in SM-Baguio Mall and 800 for the soon-to-be-opened SM Laoag City Mall and the other malls in La Union, Tuguegarao, and Cabanatuan. She said employees of SM Supermalls get salaries based on Metro Manila rates. Hired on the spot Adrian Bonifacio, 25, from Pampanga, was hired on the spot (HOTS) as a sales office assistant at Pines Seamless Mobile, Inc. He said he prepared to apply for a job by ensuring he had his pertinent documents and was physically and mentally ready in case of an interview. Bonifacio said he was grateful that various government agencies that provide documents for the job applicants were present during the job fair. 'We thank the government for this opportunity because this is a good chance for job seekers like me to find employment,' he said. Source: Philippines News Agency