Zubiri urges gov’t: Help OFWs who lost oil rig jobs in EU find work in PH green energy
DAVAO CITY – Former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri sought the help of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Energy to help overseas Filipino workers displaced by the shutdown of oil rigs in Europe find work in the country’s green energy projects, which he described as booming.
“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 have 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, recovers.
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 has been employing more than 2,500 workers. Similar green energy projects could take in additional workers or the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) 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 could 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 Idelfonso, 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 also cited 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 Villadolid 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.
Zubiri was author of the Renewable Energy Law, which has been credited for the boom in green energy projects in the country.
The DOE said more than 2.9 million engineering services and construction jobs had been produced because of the boom in the projects. SFM
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