By Daniel Infante Tuaño
BARCELONA – Filipinos in Spain still hope that the economic situation in the country will turn around in 2015.
The southern European country has been in crisis for more than seven years with 25 percent unemployment rate, forcing Spaniards to look for greener pastures abroad.
Teresita Pascual, who migrated to Spain and has been selling roast chickens and prepared food for more than 20 years in Barcelona, had to lay off two of her employees due to decreasing sales.
Pascual is positive though that the economy will pick up and business will be rosier this year.
“Nag-hohope ako na talagang magbabago pa rin kasi lahat naman yan eh daraan at daraan. Ang hanapbuhay ko naman ay pagkain so alam kong ang mga tao magugutom so karaniwan bibili at bibili,” she said.
Estela Estrada’s grocery business, meanwhile, had to close down, so she decided to seek employment anew as a cook.
Estrada shared the sentiments of many EU-based Filipinos on weakening value of euro against Philippine peso. Ten years ago, a euro was pegged to almost P70 but now it’s only equivalent to P54.
The salary in Spain, she added, is becoming more and more like in the Philippines.
“Hindi pa dumarating ang sweldo, naiutang mo na. Ang sweldo mo dadaan lang sa kamay mo para pambayad sa mga bills lalo na pag may mga pinag-aaral ka pa. Nag-rerent ka ng bahay… Tumataas lahat ng bilihin, mas mababang sweldo, mahirap pa ang trabaho, mahirap pang humanap ng trabahong permanent,” she said.
Estrada is less optimistic—the situation is not expected to change so more and more Filipinos are migrating to London, Switzerland and some would even go back to the Philippines.
There are 4,512,116 unemployed according to Spain’s Ministry of Employment as of November 2014.
Rossel Addatu, who owns an employment agency, said that there is an increasing demand for workers.
“Medyo umaahon na ring konti, tsaka marami na ring humihingi na naman ng (domestic helpers) Bumaba ng konti ang sweldo pero bumabalik…maraming trabaho din ngayon,” she said.
Aside from domestic work, Filipinos in Barcelona also work in hotel and restaurants.
Philippine Honorary Consul to Barcelona Jordi Puig, who happens to be one of the owners of a chain of restaurants and hotels that hires Filipinos, is also optimistic.
“We close this year in the business, better, it’s going up, it’s more work, the benefits of the enterprise…This made to think 2015 will be the end of recession, especially here in the area of Catalunya but much more in Barcelona,” Puig said.
Puig’s prediction is similar to what Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy year-end report had stated.
“2014 has been the year of recovery, 2015 will be the definite takeoff of the economy,” declared Rajoy in Spanish. ABS-CBNnews.com
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