Sofitel employees to get separation packages, job fair opportunities from DOT

Sofitel employees to get separation packages, job fair opportunities from DOT
File photo of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Separation packages will be offered to employees who will be affected by the closure of the five-star hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City, according to its president.

Sofitel will also provide job training seminars for its workers “so they will be adequately equipped” as they transition to new roles, said Esteban G. Peña Sy, Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. President and owner of Sofitel Philippine Plaza, in a press release by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The 51-year-old luxury hotel earlier said that it would cease operations by July 1, 2024, and the decision to close was due to safety issues, including busted water pipes and a concerning number of fire incidents in the past year.

In a meeting between the DOT and executives of Sofitel Philippines Plaza Manila on Monday, Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said she was "deeply saddened" by the by their closure, but said the DOT agrees with Sofitel management that "the safety of employees and guests is of paramount importance."

“Thank you for all of the contributions that you, and the institution that is Sofitel, have made to the tourism industry. It is one that has seen our country through many seasons, and has stood the test of time," Frasco said in a DOT press release.

"We are in complete agreement in terms of prioritizing worker and tourist safety as that is paramount over and above anything else,” Frasco added.

The DOT secretary said that the department has extended assistance to Sofitel Philippines Plaza Manila and will support them by organizing job fairs for affected employees through its National Capital Region office.

Frasco said the DOT viewed the news of the hotel's closure as a "significant loss to the tourism industry," especially as the DOT views its hotel and accommodation sector as a critical component of Philippine tourism amid efforts to revive it compared with other neighbors in the region.

“I am glad that we are able to do this dialogue so that first, we would know from you the context of the announcement of closure and second, to express our grave concern for the employees that will be losing their livelihood as a result of the closure,” Frasco said.

Sy thanked the DOT for their assistance and said the company remains optimistic as it "had its best years ever in 2022 and 2023”, with occupancy rates reaching 86% to 100% in some months. 

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