PAL lets go of 300 jobs; RDC acts to counter woes

THREE hundred personnel of Philippine Airlines (PAL) have been let go as part of the company’s business restructuring amid travel restrictions due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

PAL, in a statement Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, said it is pursuing business restructuring to increase revenues and reduce costs.

Under the program, PAL implemented a “voluntary separation initiative for long-serving employees and a retrenchment process completed on Feb. 28, resulting in the separation of about 300 ground-based administrative and management personnel.”

Worry over the effects of the epidemic has turned widespread, cutting across many sectors and localities.

In Central Visayas, the Regional Development Council (RDC) expressed Friday the need for emergency measures to support communities and businesses.

In the meeting Friday, Kenneth Cobonpue, RDC 7 chairman, said the council will issue a resolution asking government and the public sector for suggestions to mitigate the effects to the economy.

This resolution, he said, will incorporate suggestions made during the meeting by Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap for a special stimulus project to address the impact of the Covid-19 on individual provincial economies. Yap suggested a suspension of landing fees and excise taxes for fuel, the grant of food vouchers to vulnerable sectors and training for those who will lose their jobs.

Yap said the stimulus package has to be “tailor-fit” to the peculiarities of individual provinces. Unlike Cebu that has both industry and tourism, Yap said Bohol relies on tourism and overseas Filipino workers’ remittances.

“See the difference? Other parts of the country where there are enough industrial factories simply slow down. But in an economy like Bohol’s, shut down. You go to Bohol, go to the restaurants, ask the people packaging tours, 60 to 80 percent down already,” he added.

RDC members also expressed support for the list of “drastic measures” recommended Thursday by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI). Those measures include allowing workers to go on leave without pay, suspending provisions of agreements with labor unions and granting a reprieve on amortization, a six-month rental holiday to businesses and tax rebates and incentives.

Cobonpue said Yap’s suggestions and those of the CCCI “are very, very timely suggestions.”

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella agreed with the CCCI measures. CCCI president Virgilio Espeleta is confident the RDC would adopt the chamber’s measures. “We don’t know the bottom of this (Covid-19),” he said. (WBS, JJL)


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