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OFWs told green energy projects offering jobs

/ 11:15 PM February 11, 2016

DAVAO CITY—Hundreds of jobs await overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who would be displaced by the continuing decline in oil prices worldwide, in dozens of clean energy projects in the Philippines, according to the author of a law that allowed so-called green energy solutions to take off.

Juan Miguel Zubiri, former senator and author of the Renewable Energy Law, said the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Energy (DOE) should help OFWs facing ouster from their jobs in oil-producing countries find employment in the Philippines’ green energy sector, which Zubiri said is now booming.

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“The country now has dozens of new wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass energy development projects that may take in OFWs dislocated by the collapse of oil prices,” Zubiri said.

At least 300 oil rigs had shut down in the North Sea as many drillers had suffered from the slump in oil prices. Many of them decided to abandon their wells or to drastically slash output until oil prices, which had gone down to around $30 per barrel from a high of $60, recover.

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At least 4,000 Filipinos found themselves jobless in the aftermath of the shutdowns, Zubiri said.

He said in Negros Occidental, for example, a massive solar farm employs more than 2,500 workers. Similar green energy projects could take in additional workers or the Public Employment Service Office could help dislodged OFWs find alternative jobs in local renewable energy projects that are now widespread in the countryside.

Last month, the DOE awarded 42 additional renewable energy service contracts that are expected to provide up to 1,700 megawatts of additional generating capacity to the national grid, he pointed out.

Twenty-six of the new solar power projects are now being developed in Valenzuela City; Cordon and Sta. Maria in Isabela; Dasol, Pangasinan; Palauig, Zambales; Hermosa, Bataan; San Jose and Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija; Tarlac City; Guagua, Pampanga; San Ildefonso, Bulacan; Nasugbu and Rosario in Batangas; Calabanga, Camarines Sur; Bacolod City; La Carlota City, Murcia and Manapla, all in Negros Occidental; Mabinay, Negros Oriental; Naga City in Cebu; Jasaan, Misamis Oriental; and in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

Zubiri said there are also other green energy projects being built such as the hydropower projects in Buguias, Kabayan and Tublay, all in Benguet; Nagtipunan and Madella in Quirino; Majayjay and Magdalena in Laguna; General Nakar, Quezon; Maslog, Eastern Samar; and in Impasugong, Bukidnon; and the biomass projects in Burgos, Ilocos Norte; Naic, Cavite; Bago City and Valladolid in Negros Occidental; Naga City in Cebu; and in Buluan, Maguindanao.

“Should a Filipino oil worker in northern Europe be forced to come home due to the termination of his overseas employment contract, he will likely find a substitute renewable energy job in or near his native province,” Zubiri said. Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Electricity, Energy, Green energy, OFW, Overseas Filipino Workers, power, renewable energy
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