STA. ROSA, Laguna—To some Ford employees, nothing is certain but the fact that they will soon be needing a new job.
“I only learned about it when I saw [the news report] on TV. It hasn’t really been discussed to us yet,” said a male employee at the assembly plant of Ford Philippines here. “That’s really how it works. We will just have to find a new job,” he said.
Ford Motor Co. recently announced that it is shutting down its car assembly plant in the Philippines, mainly due to gaps in the supply materials.
According to a briefing on Wednesday, Ford Motor Asean president Peter Fleet said the company’s closure by yearend would displace around 250 workers.
Another employee, 28, who has been with the company for three years now on a contractual basis, said he only learned from a coworker that the company is closing down.
Both employees interviewed requested anonymity for fear that talking to reporters might affect their company records.
“They say they are going to give us separation pay anyway. I just hope to find a new job soon,” said the employee who worries how he would support his wife and two children when he loses his job.
“We are saddened that they are pulling out. Ford has already been part of the Sta. Rosa family,” said Mayor Arlene Arcillas, in a phone interview, after the company’s announcement of its planned shutdown on Wednesday.
Sta. Rosa, host to at least four major car companies to earn for itself the title “Motor City of the Philippines,” is heavily dependent on the companies’ business taxes.
Aside from Ford, the other automotive companies located here are Toyota, Honda and Nissan Motors, which have a combined manpower pool of around 2,991 people and a combined output that accounts for 90 percent of the total car manufacturing output of the Philippines.
“The city will be greatly affected in terms of the business tax. We are losing big,” Arcillas said. The mayor, however, declined to divulge the exact amount but said it is a “substantial amount.” She said Ford is the second biggest business taxpayer of Sta. Rosa, next to Toyota.
Ignacio Sanqui, chief of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Laguna, said they were aware of the planned shutdown although they have yet to receive the company’s official report.
“Prior to the [news] release, we have been hearing feedback [of a possible shutdown] from company [representatives], perhaps as a courtesy to us,” Sanqui said.
He said that under the law, a company is required to submit a formal report to the labor department at least 30 days prior to its closure.
Marivic Martinez, supervising employment officer of DOLE-Laguna, said that since last month, Ford Philippines has been offering its workers early separation, an indication of a possible shutdown.
“They were doing something to assist workers,” she said.
Sanqui said they were informed of the company’s plans to redeploy some of its workers to its marketing department or assembly plants in India, Thailand or China.
He said DOLE was preparing an “intervention program” that includes jobs, livelihood training and financial assistance, specifically for Ford employees who would be affected by the company closure.