Labor dept urged to probe Honda PH factory closure


Posted at Feb 23 2020 12:17 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 09:20 AM

The Honda logo is seen during the first press day of an auto show. Reuters/File

MANILA - The closure of the Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) factory next month in Laguna will affect not only its nearly 400 employees but also many others from companies that supply it with parts and materials, a labor group said Saturday as it urged the Department of Labor and Employment to look into the shutdown.

It is "not enough" for Honda to "just generously compensate" their affected workers, Defend Jobs Philippines said, noting that the shutdown will also affect 60 other companies supplying parts and materials for the Japanese-owned carmaker.

“Our government must not just allow the announced closure of HCPI without undergoing proper evaluation and assessment but rather consider the holistic benefits of Filipino workers," Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson Thadeus Ifurung said in a statement.

Defend Jobs Philippines said the labor department must not leave the investigation to the trade department alone as it would "only decide on the justness of the closure."

DOLE should intervene on plant closures "for the sake of our workers," it said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said his agency will meet HCPI officials on Monday to "consider other alternative options so as to minimize the impact of any final decision they will make."

"We were told that they had to optimize the allocation and distribution of their resources in the region, which led them to decide to close the assembly of Honda City and BR-V models in Sta Rosa, Laguna," Lopez said.

The cost structure of the plant is "basically challenged" with "no tariff protection," making vehicle imports a cheaper alternative, Lopez said.

"Vehicle imports have been growing, causing injury to local industry, from assembly to the local parts supply network in the country," he said.

"Thus we really have to study the need to impose safeguard duty and other measures to provide at least a level of support to the local assemblers."

HCPI said halting its manufacturing operations in Laguna was meant to optimize its production operations in Asia and the Oceania region by efficiently allocation and distributing its resources.