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Bioethanol plant lays off 1,200

/ 12:04 AM June 25, 2014

SAN MARIANO, Isabela—About 1,200 workers of a bioethanol producer here will be laid off starting next month as the harvest season for sugarcane ends in Isabela province.

“We want to be clear. They are seasonal workers and the company will be losing money if it continues to give them salaries for doing nothing,” said Greg Garcia, corporate affairs manager and administrative officer of Green Future Innovations Inc. (GFII) in Santa Filomena village here.

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The firm will let go of farm and utility workers and security guards starting July 12, but will rehire workers who pass its screening process once more by October, the start of the next season, Garcia said.

He said the firm had 378 regular workers and 1,198 seasonal workers.

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In its website, GFII said it maintained sugarcane growing contracts with 4,000 farm families in Isabela.

On July 18, at least 54 truck drivers will also be laid off, said Diony Yadao, president of the farmers’ group, Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti Isabela (Dagami-Isabela).

But the periodic hiring and firing have angered farmers’ groups in the province, Yadao said, because retrenching workers for part of every year does not help the local economy.

Yadao said the group had lobbied the company to assure its workers in Isabela of “security of tenure.”

“Where will these families get money to sustain their families’ daily need once they are retrenched? The company must be humane and spend for its workers for the whole year,” he said.

Vice Mayor Edgar Go said most of the retrenched workers came from this town.

“It is sad to know that they even retrench those residents from San Mariano first. The company must be fair and must [base the firing on] the track record of workers,” he said.

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GFII has targeted an annual average production of 54 million liters of ethanol.

The company projected that 700,000 tons of sugarcane feedstock (worth P1.6 billion) would give income to about 20,000 farmers. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: bioethanol, Employment, Green Future Innovations Inc.
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