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Water row forces closure of beverage firm’s facility

The local company behind Pepsi-Cola drinks has closed some parts of its operations in Muntinlupa earlier this month following a government decision to seal off the deep wells in the facility.

Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI) said the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) sealed off on June 11 the deep wells located in PCCPI’s Muntinlupa Plant over the issuance of water permits.

“The action led by the NWRB has led to the temporary suspension of certain parts of the operations at the Muntinlupa Plant for the past several days,” the company said in a statement. We have activated interim arrangements with our 12 other production plants in the Philippines to ensure that its consumers would continue to enjoy the company’s products.

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The firm issued the clarification following media reports that the PCPPI allegedly conducted a massive layoff following the closure. The beverage maker denied this.

Earlier reports claimed that more than 1,000 contractual workers lost their jobs due to the closure of the deep wells.

The company clarified that the the number of affected workers was “significantly lower than the number speculated in the media.”

“We aim to protect the livelihood and the welfare of our workers and contractors of the [Muntinlupa] plant who had made significant contributions to our operations over the years,” the company said.

Moreover, the company said that it was actually “providing financial assistance to our contractual personnel pending the re-opening of the Muntinlupa Plant.”

When asked to disclose how many workers were affected by the closure, the company deferred from disclosing any actual figures, noting that this would “reveal our business strategies.”

Disclosing “the number of our contractual employees will reveal our business strategies in reference to managing our operations and our supply needs. It will expose data and numbers that are internal to us like our books, financial expenses, etc. These information are protected by the law,” said the company in a separate statement to the Inquirer.

“The issues and fears of our workers regarding the misconceptions on their job security have already been addressed and clarified directly with the affected personnel during our townhall. Their employment is secure,” PCCPI added.

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The listed beverage maker also said it was in talks with the authorities to resolve the water issue.

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