21 April 2020 (Tuesday)
Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday has appealed for a unified and synchronized plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), national agencies, and LGUs during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This comes after reports suggest martial law-type implementation of ECQ guidelines as Luzon enters week seven of the said quarantine.
“There is no need for martial law, but the utilization of the right tactics, strategies, and a unified enforcement of quarantine measures, emergency rules and policies in order to establish public order,” said the PEZA Chief.
According to Plaza, “The COVID-19 pandemic’s three main challenges that need to be addressed are health, economy, and public order. Thus, types of tactics and strategies are needed to address these three major issues. It must be planned and calculated wisely.”
Plaza calls for all agencies to put their heads together and come up with one that will further be implemented in the whole nation. “Everything must be strategized and harmonized together, not ‘kanya-kanya’.”
“LGUs should not separately address the pandemic and create invisible walls. Lockdown policies per island or per region greatly affect or hamper the flow of goods and mobility of workers because of the different EOs imposed by the LGUs,” underscored Plaza.
Plaza likewise emphasized that “Cooperation is key for government agencies to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this pandemic.”
Balancing act is a must among all agencies
According to Plaza, “the exportation of commodities and services must continue as our country’s major source of income, technology transfer, the massive jobs and in attaining the total development of the country.
With this in mind, the PEZA Chief and her team are doing their best to assist export-oriented companies for their business continuity during this time.
In cooperation with the IATF-EID and other government agencies, PEZA continues its balancing act of facilitating the operations of companies in ecozones during the ECQ without compromising the health and safety of its workers.
“As we know that this is a unique time that we are all doing our best to cope with, PEZA is doing its best to coordinate continually with various agencies and LGUs nationwide to ensure unhampered movement of goods, strict implementation of national directives, and address other concerns as well so that the supply the chain continues to run smoothly,” said Plaza.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) have pushed for greater support in the manufacture and importation of essential products during the ECQ by granting incentives through the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 20-02, series of 2020 issued on 1 April 2020. The JMC allows manufacturing companies to sell 80 percent of in demand PPEs, medical supplies, etc. to the domestic market during this period.
Aside from this, PEZA also released numerous directives through Memorandum Circulars and Advisories to better assist its registered companies, particularly those producing, manufacturing, and importing PPEs, medicines, and other medical materials. This includes adjusting the requirements in availing its incentives during this time and extending the validity of permits including the export and import permit.
“Our success and survival from this COVID crisis, requires a well-calculated and a unified balancing act, addressing the health and food needs with the right courses of actions. The challenge now is employing the right tactics and strategies to preserve peace and order, protect our people’s lives and properties. We must stand together as one and help each other from top to bottom. Let us all be part of the solution,” emphasized Plaza.