Garment firms brace for more ‘temporary closures’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine apparel industry is looking at more “temporary closures” of factories this year, as it grapples with declining orders from overseas clients, most of which are in the United States which is under the shadow of a looming recession.
Maritess Jocson-Agoncillo, executive director of the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (Conwep) told reporters on Wednesday that this was the consequence waiting for some firms which have operations in the provinces of Batangas and Bataan.
“What you see in Cebu is the start, an effect of the slowdown,” she said in a press conference, referring to the developments at the Mactan Export Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, where more than 4,000 workers were laid off by garment companies last month.
This is a temporary measure to ensure the survival of local garment firms, but made no mention how long it could last, citing that its duration depends on global trends, Agoncillo said.
The Conwep official said stores in the United States, ‘the local garment firms’ main market, were just not selling a lot of their products causing a buildup in their inventories.
“Currently, we are experiencing around 3.5 to 4 percent of workers affected with a base of 270,000 workers covering wearables like apparel, travel goods and footwear. It might reach a maximum range of 8 to 10 percent if current trend extends longer or global demand conditions worsen,” Conwep said in a separate statement released on the same day.
These percentages mean that the number of affected workers range from about 9,450 to 10,800 people, with the worst scenario seeing it negatively impacting 27,000 individuals.
Agoncillo said they were working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to find ways to cushion the blow of these temporary measures on affected workers.
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