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Pepsi-Cola to tackle issues at Muntinlupa site

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A woman passes by a Pepsi booth at the Food Expo at the World Trade Center, Pasay, Philippines, taken on September 9, 2013.

Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc.(PCCPI) assured it will discuss with authorities issues regarding its employees who picketed the Department of Labor and Employment on Monday, to protest their dismissal.

Sought for comment, PCCPI said in an email, “We aim to protect the livelihood and the welfare of our workers and contractors of the said plant who had made significant contributions to our operations over the years.” The company was referring to its Muntinlupa site where its deep wells were shut down due to water permit issues with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

Pepsi Cola Workers Association (PCWA) said that since the closure, 1,000 workers of the plant were laid off this month.

“Pinabayaan na lang nila hangga’t sa pinutol na nila yung tubo ng tubig so nawalan kami ng trabaho (They left the matter unattended until the water connection was cut off and we lost our jobs),” said Ricardo Gandalla, vice-president of the PCWA. “Mga isang libo kami higit (We were around 1,000 workers).”

PCCPI said in response, when sought for comment, “The number of personnel affected is significantly lower than the number speculated in the media.”

The company said it will provide “financial assistance to our contractual personnel pending the re-opening of the Muntinlupa Plant.”

Mr. Gandalla, who identifies himself as a contractual worker from Multi Task Manpower Services for 15 years now, said “Gagawin daw po nila (PCCPI) ay kakausapin ang kaswal na PCWA po sa June 20. Kund hindi po aayos, tutuloy po naming ang laban (What PCCPI will do is that they will talk to the casuals on June 20. If the issue won’t be resolved, we will still continue our fight.”

He added, “Yun na rin po ang aming demand po ngayon na maibalik kami at mairegular nila kami (That is our demand, that they give our jobs back and regularize us).”

PCCPI said, “We are committed to the welfare of the communities in which we operate, and where we have built our success. We have and we will continue to operate as a responsible corporate citizen.” —G.M. Cortez