Hundreds of PLDT staff to be laid off by yearend

Chrisee Dela Paz

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Hundreds of PLDT staff to be laid off by yearend
The Philippines' second most valuable listed company targets to lay off around 450 employees to cut operational costs and align the skill set of its workforce

MANILA, Philippines – Around 450 employees of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) are set to be laid off by the end of the year, as the firm implements its manpower reduction program (MRP) to align the skill set of its workforce and cutting operational costs.

The telecommunications giant started in April its MRP for the year. It disclosed to the local bourse the “separation from service” of 3 of its senior executives, namely PLDT first vice president Anna Isabel Bengzon, PLDT first vice president Miguela Villanueva, and PLDT vice president Jose Apelo.

Asked if more employees will be retrenched under its MRP, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said on the sidelines of a briefing in Makati Tuesday, May 5: “Yes, I think it’s around 500 by yearend.”

Sought for confirmation, PLDT public affairs head Ramon Isberto said in a mobile phone reply: “The number is around 450 employees.”

Isberto explained that “employees were given the option to avail [themselves of] ‘sweetened offers.’” He, however, did not say what the offers consist of.

In 2012, PLDT also implemented an MRP, and laid off more than 1,000 employees to address job redundancy after the merger with Digitel Telecommunications Philippines, Incorporated, which goes by the brand Sun Cellular.

“This year’s MRP is to reduce costs and align the composition of work force,” Isberto said.

“We used to be much bigger, but the business is changing and we need people who have digital technology skills,” he added.

Isberto, however, clarified that the ongoing MRP is not related with the key changes in its organization, which was announced Wednesday, May 6.

“The MRP was planned and executed way before the organization changes were announced yesterday,” Isberto said.

PLDT declared a flat net profit of P9.4 billion ($211 million) in the first quarter of 2015, with both total revenues and expenses steady.

PLDT, the second most valuable listed company in the Philippines, said its first-quarter core net profit of P9.3 billion ($208.75 million) – down 5% year-on-year but “on track” with the company’s guidance of P35 billion ($785.56 million) for 2015.

Pangilinan said during the briefing Wednesday that PLDT’s core revenue sources undergo this transition phase “where the erosion of our high-margin legacy businesses still outpaces the growth of our newer initiatives for now.”

“[W]e are taking significant steps to ensure that we are ready and prepared for the digital future,” he added. –

$1 = P44.53

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