Philippines to probe Honda production shutdown

The Senate of the Philippines is planning to conduct an inquiry into the sudden shutdown of Honda Cars Philippines Inc.’s manufacturing in Laguna.

Senator Joel Villanueva, who heads the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources, said the committee was ready to conduct hearings on the looming shutdown of the car manufacturer’s Laguna plant.

“The pending closure of the nearly three-decade-old Honda Cars manufacturing plant in Sta. Rosa Laguna is a cause of concern,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Not only will 387 jobs be on the line, [but] it will also affect at least 387 families and hundreds more if we factor in indirect jobs and trade activity that support the factory and its workers,” he added.

Honda announced over the weekend that it would cease the production of Honda cars beginning next month, leaving its Philippine operations solely to marketing. The company was established in the Philippines in 1990 and started production in 1992. It has an investment capital of P1.9 billion.

Apart from the Philippines, Honda is also set to shut down its only British factory in 2021, leaving as much as 3,500 people jobless. It said manufacturing facilities will shift to North America, Japan, and China.

In the Philippines, not only is Honda the sole company to withdraw Philippine operations but also are Nokia’s research and development office in Quezon City and US-based bank Wells Fargo & Co.’s operations.

Nokia’s exit is set to result in some 700 people jobless, while Wells Fargo is likely to leave a similar number out of job.

“We call on the Labor and Trade departments to exert all effort to save jobs that are here in the country and respond to the immediate needs of displaced workers and their families,” Villanueva said.

Meanwhile, labor groups are urging the Department of Labor and Employment to conduct its probe into the sudden shutdown.

Defend Jobs Philippines said that for as long as the Philippines is reliant on foreign investors, Filipinos will not be assured of jobs without programs to develop the local industries.

It added that the government must fast-track the investigation behind the closure and ensure that the 700 workers at risk of facing unemployment will keep their jobs.