PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines
04 May 2021 (Tuesday)
Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include economic frontline workers to be included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
In a letter to IATF Head Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. dated 23 April 2021, PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “PEZA-registered companies, ecozone and industry workers are considered frontline workers as they have continued working to ensure the unhampered service to contribute to the global supply chain.”
“In phases of Community Quarantine (CQ), from ECQ to GCQ ECQ, the IATF has always managed to strike a balance between the need to aggressively respond to COVID-19 and the need to allow essential business sectors to operate and keep the economy afloat. Hence, the BPO and export-oriented sectors were allowed to operate as a measure to cushion the adverse impact of COVID-19 to the economy, subject to strict compliance with health and quarantine protocols,” she stated.
During MECQ period in 12-16 April 2021, PEZA zones have reported that 90% or 2,701 companies are operating nationwide with 1,193,813 employees working under various work schemes. Per sector, the IT-BPO industry is 84% operational while the manufacturing sector is 94% operational.
Referring to PEZA’s ‘balancing acts’ and relief measures during the pandemic, the PEZA Chief said that “PEZA has been hitting two birds in one stone since the beginning of this health crisis. As we give assistance and reprieves to our locator companies who play a big role in keeping our economy afloat, we are protecting the jobs and livelihood of our 1.5 million workers.”
PEZA also cited in its letter to the National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer various memoranda released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which further emphasized the importance of locators and ecozone workers during this pandemic and to better prepare the country for post-COVID economic rebound.
Under the government’s vaccination program priority list, the A4 category is the group of frontline personnel in essential sectors, which has now been expanded to include additional sectors like the transportation workers, market vendors, religious leaders, overseas Filipino workers, and members of the press.
Regarding the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by PEZA-registered companies, PEZA is helping in the facilitation of the locators’ purchase of vaccines on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration and subject to strict compliance with COVID vaccination protocols. To date, PEZA manages a total of 410 economic zones across the Philippines and has registered about 4,643 locator companies.
According to Plaza, “The ecozone vaccination program is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.”