1,900 Cordillera workers displaced by financial crisis


Retrenched workers properly compensated, DoLE says

By DEXTER A. SEE

BAGUIO CITY – At least 1,900 workers at different companies in the Cordillera comprised the first batch of employees displaced by the global financial crisis, it was reported.

But despite this bleak development, lawyer Ana Dione, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in the Cordillera, said the region is in a good position to face the crisis because the mass layoff taking place in other regions is not happening in companies in the economic zone here.

While the Texas Instruments Philippines (TIP) retrenched over 500 workers last year and bared plans to lay off another batch of workers this year, Dione said the future is still bright for the TIP as it has already started to operate even on a medium level.

She said this is an indication that orders for electronic chips are still being placed with the firm.

Furthermore, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) officials informed DoLE that they expect investors to consider Baguio City as one of the areas where they can invest even with the global financial crisis.

The PEZA officials noted the increase in business process out-sourcing operations in the city.

Out of the 1,900 affected workers in the region, 1,376 are partially displaced as they are still holding on to their jobs but on a rotation or reduced-time scheme, which is authorized by the labor department to prevent mass layoff.

The other affected workers are considered totally displaced because they are no longer connected to the companies which had earlier employed them.

Dione said several industries in the region which were the initial victims of the global crisis included manufacturing, service, electronics, and mining.

Nevertheless, she said, DoLE made sure that the retrenched workers were properly compensated by their employers.

What is significant, Dione said, is that the labor sector is now inquiring from DoLE about the programs and projects of the national government for the development of skills or livelihood that would enable the workers to augment their meager income.

A concrete example cited by the Cordillera DoLE official is the labor union of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. which had requested the labor department to re-train the mine workers on skills that could be used to generate income or livelihood.

The labor official said DoLE is providing emergency employment assistance as well as training to workers in the region who are interested in developing skills and knowledge that could make them productive amidst the global financial crisis.(MB)

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