Lamoiyan boss: Employing the deaf is employing the best


Posted at May 13 2016 06:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2016 09:43 AM

Unbeknownst to many, the beloved Filipino brand Hapee Toothpaste is lovingly made by the deaf employees of Lamoiyan corporation.

"The deaf-mutes are neglected in the communities. When I found out that they’re just people like you and me, when properly inspired, properly motivated, they can be very efficient," Lamoiyan Corporation's CEO and President, Dr. Cecilio Pedro told Cathy Yang in 'The Boss.'

The deaf, he said, are probably more dedicated to their job because "it’s very difficult for them to find jobs outside so they value the job, the opportunity that is to work here."

In Lamoiyan, they opted to adjust their skills to be able to communicate with the deaf. They have a sign language class regularly for the hearing, and the supervisors, most if not all, can sign with the hearing-impaired.

"We go out of our way to take care of the hearing-impaired. Knowing that they’re handicapped, they’re special people so they know that in this company, they’re well taken care of, they are treated special," he said.

"Because of that, they love their work, they love their company and they return to us through efficiency, through the kind of performance they give to the company," he added.

Only 30% of the employees in the corporate side of the company are deaf-mute, but Pedro said they are the first priority in hiring factory employees, except for the supervisory work which needs hearing.

"If it’s just manual, if it’s just using the hands or the eyes, they’re as good as you and me—in fact, they’re more focused because of their handicap," he explained.

At the moment, Lamoiyan Corporation is supporting three schools for the deaf--one in Cavinti, Laguna, another in Palawan, and another in Nueva Ecija--where they provide free education for the deaf through sign language.


When foreign toothpaste manufacturers switched to plastic-laminated tubes, Pedro had to shut his business, which supplies aluminum tubes.

Inspired by William Colgate and with the surplus of materials and machines after closing shop, Pedro and his group came up with Hapee.

But at that time, the market was already saturated with foreign brands and had a steady following. But Pedro was unfazed.

"The only area that I thought at that time that I can compete is in price. Since I’m producing my own tubes and my overhead at that time is much, much smaller than our competitors. So we decided to launch our product at half the price."

Though this was attractive to the consumers, Pedro admitted that the perception that the competitors have better products to offer than the Filipino brand. To catch up with the competition, the company resolved to improve their quality.

"Today, the toothpaste that we sell in the market is totally, totally different from what we were selling then, 30 years ago," Pedro said.

Their prices may have risen over the years, but Pedro said they have no plans of matching the prices of their foreign and local competitors.

"We believe that there’s already enough margin at that price and we want to benefit our consumers to make sure that toothpaste is affordable," he added.