The $2.4-billion Okada Manila – the newest entrant in Manila’s Entertainment City, and its sister firm slot machine maker Aruze, are producing thousands of jobs for Pinoys in the country.
Set to open for a Christmas preview and concert on December 21, the integrated entertainment resort is expected to generate as much as 8,000 jobs once fully operational.
Meanwhile, the $35-million Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Inc. in Sto. Tomas, Batangas currently employs over 800 workers – 99 percent of whom are Filipinos. The plant is a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp. which is also owned by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada. The slot machine factory moved to the Philippines from Japan in 2009.
Okada’s twin investments are contributing significantly to the Duterte administration’s target of reducing unemployment to as low as 4 percent by 2022. The government’s focus is to create sufficient local occupations and ensure better quality jobs.
Lito Garcia, a metal fabrication supervisor and planner at Aruze gaming, said foreign direct investments are creating significant employment opportunities for many Filipinos. Their plant in Batangas, for example, is producing thousands of slot machines for various international markets, including the U.S, Australia, Macau and South Africa.
Garcia, who was a pioneer at Aruze’s Philippine plant, started as a technician in charge of setting up tools and metal parts needed to assemble gaming machines. In his seven years with the company, he rose from the ranks to become team leader, then supervisor and now also as a planner for his department.
A fellow worker, Dona Castillo, works in the same firm as a development engineer. She said her five-year stint at Aruze allowed her to expand her skills and knowledge both in engineering and Research and Development.
“In some companies, there are many barriers for women engineers. Here in Aruze, I’ve proven that there’s no limit to the role of women. I have lots of opportunities to learn and develop my skills,” she stressed.
“What I like about Aruze is the stability it provides – nobody wants to work for a company where five years down the road, you no longer have a job because your product is no longer being produced,” Castillo added.
In tandem with Okada Manila, Aruze Gaming’s direct investments in the Philippines are set to change Manila’s labor landscape with the creation of better-paying and stable blue collar jobs.