By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY – APO Cement Corporation is laying off 30 percent of its regular employees and cutting its contractual workers by up to 40 percent.
APO Cement said it is reducing manpower following the suspension of quarry operations of the (ALQC).
ALQC is the supplier of raw material of APO Cement, the country’s second-biggest cement plant.
AQLC’s quarrying operations were suspended after the landslide in Barangay Tinaan, Naga City, last September 20. Some residents blamed quarrying for the landslide that killed 78 persons and destroyed 60 houses.
APO Cement said the suspension has hampered the company’s operations.
“In order to meet the requirements of the market, APO Cement is currently sourcing its materials from different parts of the country and even abroad, a move that is putting significant cost pressures to the operations of the company,” APO Cement said in a statement.
A formal notice of layoff has been filed before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), it added.
The company said it is “increasingly concerned” about the lack of clarity in the government’s program in mitigating existing hazards at the landslide ssite, even after the conclusive findings of experts from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which declared that the landslide was a natural phenomenon.
APO Cement is hoping ALQC will be allowed to resume operations soon, saying that the move to lay off workers was not an easy decision to make.
“APO Cement has been in Cebu for nearly a century already, we have fostered our solidarity and ‘malasakit’ to our communities for several decades now but these are extremely challenging times and we need to make these hard decisions,” it said.
APO Cement and ALQC, along with the city government of Naga and the province of Cebu, were named respondents in the R4.5-billion environmental class suit filed by the families of some of the landslide victims.