Former Isabela governor and Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca (center) leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony formalizing the opening of the Clark Development Corporation’s (CDC) first-ever job fair for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) held on July 29 at the Mimosa Convention Center inside the Clark Freeport. Joining Padaca are (from left) CDC Director Manolo Feliciano (partly hidden), CDC President Arthur P. Tugade, CDC Chairman of the Board Eliseo Santiago, Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) President Rene Banzon, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Arnel Paciano Casanova. – Photo by CDC Public Relation Department
CLARK FREEPORT – The more than 400 applicants that participated in the Clark Development Corporation’s (CDC) first ever “Jobs Fair for PWDs and IPs” did not only leave the Mimosa Convention Center yesterday with newfound jobs but also with encouragement and inspiration.
“Whenever a negative thought would strike me, I would immediately get a book, a magazine, or even a newspaper and read it to convert those negative thoughts into something positive,” said Commissioner Grace Padaca of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as she addressed PWD and IP applicants during her keynote speech here.
Padaca, a former governor of Isabela province, also encouraged the applicants to utilize their time in a productive way: “While waiting for the opportune time, prepare yourselves by doing something productive until the right opportunity knocks on your doorsteps.”
“My message to all of you is that wherever you are make yourselves strong by being a productive person, try to equip yourselves [with skills]. If your strengths lean towards painting or to any skill that you possess, make the most of that talent. Without you knowing it, these little things will prepare you for bigger opportunities in the future,” Padaca emphasized.
In yesterday’s job fair, the CDC Customer Service Department’s (CDC-CSD) initial list revealed that at least 482 registered applicants, composed of 321 IPs and 161 PWDs, participated in the state-owned corporation’s first ever jobs fair for the handicap and indigenous peoples.
The CDC-CSD also reported that 38 applicants (IP, 31; PWD, 7) were hired on the spot. Reports submitted by the 37 participating Clark-based locators showed that of the 1,045 applications they received, 350 job seekers are set for “trade tests” while 230 of them are expected to return for “further interview.”
“The total number of applications reached 1,045 because some applicants have submitted their bio-data sheets to two or more locators,” the CDC-CSD report clarified.
Padaca also said: “I am with you in thanking the 37 Clark locators that have participated in this job fair and for opening their doors to consider employing PWDs like us and likewise, indigenous peoples, who are also our brothers and sisters.”
“To all of you locators, thank you for considering us; thank you for giving us the chance. We guarantee you that if you give us the chance we will prove to you our worth as a human being and our perseverance as an employee,” Padaca added.
CDC President Arthur P. Tugade had, likewise, thanked participating Clark locators for their “contributions and support to the CDC’s corporate social responsibility projects”: “Thank you for reaching out to the helpless, the needy, and the deprived. I assure you that you have not made the wrong move but in fact, you are making the right move.”
Tugade further said: “Many times you will find that the most efficient and the most hardworking [employees come] from the people who have been forgotten and forsaken, if you give them the chance.”
“Today, I hope that you will find the most diligent and the most hardworking employees that you will ever have because this breed of people have lived and had survived the arena of hardship,” he continued.
“To you all, our brothers – the PWDs, the physically-challenged, and the katutubos, our heart goes with you. Allow me to say one thing, perhaps not all of you will be employed today hence, do not be afraid. Do not falter. And do not lose hope. For the CDC will still provide you opportunities such as this. Come back and look for a job that will suit you well,” Tugade added.
Tugade also announced that the CDC Board of Directors had already approved the proposal to institutionalize the PWD, IP job fair, which will be an annual event here.
For his part, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Arnel Paciano Casanova said the job fair sends strong message that ethnicity and physical disabilities are not obstacles or barriers for PWDs and IPs from seeking employment and other financial opportunities in the Clark Freeport.
“Believe that dreams do come true. Believe in yourself and in your capabilities despite your respective handicaps. Development and employment opportunities are for everybody,” Casanova said.
Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) President Rene Banzon also announced that his goal is to reach out to different investor/locator associations in Freeport zones nationwide “and spread what CDC has started and to share this concept for other Freeport zones to emulate.”
He added that the messages of Padaca, Tugade, and Casanova during the job fair did not only inspire PWDs and IPs but Clark investors, as well.