Struggling Through Difficult Times

With the US dominating the world economy, the effects of this crunch have spread to other countries including the Philippines – affecting multitudes of workers who are now struggling to simply live through the difficult times.


Alfredo Aquino, Jr., a father of four children and the only breadwinner in his family, worked for Dyna Image Corporation – a Taiwanese-owned company that manufactures contact image censors – for nine years. All his hard work for the company ended on Jan. 30 when he received his last paycheck.

Dyna Image Corporation, one of the companies based at the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), has retrenched no less than 400 of its more than a thousand employees in the last few months.

Aquino was one of those who were axed. For his nine years of service to the company, he received only a little more than P46,500 ($979 at the current exchange rate of $1=P47.496) – when according to the law, he should have received P10,000 ($210) for every year of service.

He said he has a job prospect at a company in Manila where one of his cousins works, but for now, he whiles the time away – and tries to make both ends meet – by running a small business (he sells goto or rice porridge with ox tripe). He and his family are also striving to survive on his separation pay.

The times, he said, are proving to be particularly hard for him and his family. “Kung p’wede akong umiyak, iiyak ako, e” (If I could cry, I would), he said.

Last November, 19-year-old Rhad Eguna lost her job at the Philippine International Manufacturing & Engineering Services Corporation, or P.IMES, where she worked for eight months. She was supposed to have been regularized after her sixth month, but she remained a contractual employee for the last two months before she was laid off.

That was only her second job (her first job was as a domestic helper). She is not even 20 and she has been through two jobs already, and now she has been searching for another job for two months.

P.IMES, a CEPZ-based company that is 99.998 percent Japanese-owned, manufactures CD-ROM drives and subcompact or passbook printers. In the last few months, it has retrenched some 100-200 of its 1,500 employees. Eguna was one of those swept in this wave of job cuts at the company.

At that rate, cousins Arnold Redondo and Zaldy Rapiñan can be considered “lucky” for still having their jobs at Eighttech Manufacturing Corporation and Kuy Manufacturing Corporation, respectively. Both companies are also CEPZ-based electronics companies. However, Redondo and Rapinan now work for reduced working hours: both now go to work only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Since last September, they have been going to work for only nine days each month.

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