MANILA - The franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines said Tuesday it was laying off an undisclosed number of employees after an assessment of its organizational structure.
While it did not cite higher taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks that took effect last Jan. 1, Coca-Cola FEMSA said it made the "difficult decision" after considering the "evolving regulatory environment, our operational efficiency, and, consequent performance in the market."
"We are grateful for the valuable contributions of those who were affected and thank them for being part of the company," the Coca-Cola System said in a statement.
"Everyone will be given career transition support, as well as separation packages that go beyond what is mandated by law," it said.
Drinks with caloric and non-caloric sweeteners were taxed P6 per liter while those using high-fructose corn syrup, a cheap sugar substitute, were levied P12 per liter. The rates were revised from the original proposal of P10 per liter.
The tax on sugary drinks is among duties that are meant to offset a reduction in personal income tax rates under the first tranche of President Rodrigo Duterte's tax reforms.
Taxes were also increased on fuel and cars.
On Tuesday, the government reported that inflation accelerated to 4 percent in January, the fastest in 3 years and hitting the top end of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' target.