The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) confirmed reports that 4,485 workers were retrenched following mass lay-offs by at least five garment companies operating in the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ).
PEZA OIC Tereso Panga said financial pressures due to the global recession forced the companies to make “aggressive decisions.”
“Severe financial losses due to global decline in demand for their products prompted the retrenchment,” he said Sunday.
Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP) executive director Maritess Agoncillo, also confirmed the report, citing the slowdown of the US economy and the competitive disadvantage of the Philippines as factors that led to the mass dismissal of MEPZ workers.
Panga said the government has engaged the local government of Cebu and the Department of and Employment (DOLE) for assistance that may be extended to displaced workers.
“Most of the employees were given their separation pay already. There were a series of meetings conducted among PEZA, LGU, DOLE, and the PNP (Philippine National Police) to ensure a smooth and orderly conduct of the proceedings,” Panga said.
The DOLE offered to give job opportunities to dismissed workers through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) program.
PESO is an ongoing program that aims to fill job vacancies through referral and placement, career counseling, training, and seminars.
According to PEZA the number of retrenched workers make up about a fourth of the total combined workforce of 18,000 employees from the garment factories.
Currently, there are 1.79 million workers employed inside the economic zones.
Investments from January to August 2022 amounted to $31.12 billion.