21 March 2020 (Saturday)
Taguig City – Since March 20, 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has released an advisory regarding the movement of ecozone workers and goods during the period of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. The advisory is effective to all ecozones operated, managed, or registered with PEZA nationwide.
According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “PEZA is in the frontline of this COVID crisis so our investors will continue to operate but we’ll strictly enforce the health safety requirements as pronounced for our Filipino workforce and investors alike.”
“There have been many questions, suggested solutions, interpretations of directives and memos from various agencies at the moment. With our three Deputy Director Generals, Zone Administrators, Zone Managers and few others, we are corresponding 24/7 just to keep everything in order. We are also making urgent solutions so our investors and employed Filipino workers will be assisted,” said Plaza.
With aims to clear confusion, the recent advisory is in relation to the Memoranda of the Office of the President dated March 16 and 18, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Circulars dated March 18, 19 & 20, 2020, and the PNP guidelines updated as of March 20, 2020 at 3:00 PM.
The new guidelines for qualified PEZA-registered BPO and export-oriented companies as among those covered enterprises that may continue operations under the quarantine period are as follows:
· Unhampered movement of ecozone cargoes and ecozone company shuttle buses/vehicles ferrying the workers within the immediate vicinity of the ecozone shall be allowed even after the March 20 deadline, unless revoked by the IATF;
· Quarantine measures such as work from home arrangement, maintaining a skeletal workforce on site, provision of housing for the workers either inside or near the zone, social distancing, and use of shuttle services shall be strictly complied with. For this purpose, all are kindly reminded to please observe the
directives on physical distancing, provision of face masks and other protective equipment for employees and provision of alcohol, sanitizers and frequent sanitizing of the workplace;
· Ecozone workers on board company shuttle buses/vehicles must be ready to present at PNP-LGU checkpoints the following: a) Valid Company Identification Card; b) Proof of Residence; and c) Proof of Employment;
· Ecozone workers need not present separate IATF IDs, company-issued IDs will suffice; and
· PEZA certifications/vehicles stickers/placards indicating ecozone destination shall be distributed to qualified locators after due vetting by respective Zone Administrator/Manager/Officer-in-Charge of their strict compliance with the aforesaid quarantine measures.
In addition to these, PEZA’s NAIA, Port of Manila (POM), and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) Joint PEZA-Customs Offices (JPCOs) will have no skeletal workforce during Saturdays and Sundays. Schedule of services is from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., which is synchronized with that of BOC’s schedule. Also, the JPCOs are accepting advance payments for the electronic import permit system (eIPS) and automated export declaration system (AEDS).
“As we know that this COVID-19 crisis is a bitter pill to swallow, we are sympathetic to the difficulties you are all going through, together with your employees. We are ourselves overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation. However, as all countries that are affected realize that lives are at stake and hard decisions must be made,” said the Director General.
Finally, the PEZA Chief appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Local Government Units (LGUs) to be consistent about the “unhampered movement of ecozone cargoes and ecozone company shuttle buses/vehicles ferrying the workers within the immediate vicinity of the ecozone” which have been allowed, unless revoked by the IATF.