13 March 2020 (Friday)
Taguig City – In view of the worsening spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has directed all ecozones and offices nationwide to continue ‘business as usual’ with skeletal workforces to assure the unhampered service to its clients and locators. The said orders are in line with the President’s announcement last night regarding the Philippines’ measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has last night announced the adaptation of Resolution No. II, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), to combat the worsening spread of COVID-19. Along with the recommendations are the raising of the COVID-19 Code Red Level to 2, the extension of the suspension of classes in NCR until April 12, suspension of government work in the Executive branch for 30 days, and the placing of the capital to ‘community quarantine.’
With this, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has instructed all workers, visitors, and clients of all PEZA offices and ecozones to implement alternative work scheme to render all its services for the usual working days during the entire period of the community quarantine.
According to Plaza, “PEZA caters to both foreign and local clients who brings investments to the country. With this, employees interact with various clients in the day-to-day basis. We, in PEZA, make sure the safety and welfare of our workers and clients alike.”
For PEZA’s Head Office and Zone Offices in NCR, their respective Deputy Director Generals and NCR Zone Managers will determine what will be the alternative work scheme of their employees.
For those in the Public Zones and Special Zones outside NCR, a four-day work week will be implemented. This will consist of two work schedules from Monday to Thursday; and Tuesday to Friday. During these days, employees can come in between 7:00 am to 6:00 pm or 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.
PEZA also wrote to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assist in unhampered land travel in and out of Metro Manila for employees and cargoes of industries. “Passes/stickers shall include PEZA-accredited trucks transporting goods that are either for import or export of PEZA-registered companies,” said Plaza.
Meanwhile, PEZA also tapped the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to ensure the continuous production operations of the locator enterprises operating in the various PEZA ecozones. “We informed the BOC that the Authority has resolved to be ‘business as usual’ to ensure unhampered service to our clients,” explained the PEZA Chief.
Aside from these, PEZA has issued Memorandum Circular which authorized PEZA-registered IT and export enterprises to implement the following “without the need for a Letter of Authority (LOA) from PEZA” in view of prevention and response mechanisms to COVID-19:
1. Work-from-home by certain employees delivering services identified by the IT enterprise as critical;
2. Work-from-home by certain employees exhibiting symptoms akin to a person infected with COVID-19 but physically able to work;
3. Work-from-home by a group/s of employees suspected of exposure to persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection;
4. Re-assignment / re-distribution of employees to other PEZA-registered facilities of the IT Enterprise in other PEZA IT Parks/Centers;
5. Assignment of certain employees to work in facilities / buildings that are not PEZA-registered IT Parks/Centers;
6. Increase in the number of employees covered in the Letter of Authority for Business Continuity Plan previously issued by PEZA to the IT Enterprise;
7. Other justifiable and reasonable courses of action, including pre-emptive action, to respond to COVID-19.
8. All PEZA unites in Joint PEZA-Customs Offices (JPCO) in all ports will be open and manned by PEZA personnel in accordance to the work schedules of the BOC counterpart in the JPCO in the respective ports.
All IT and export enterprises availing the authorization are also required to submit a report to the PEZA Chief, which will include the particulars of the course/s of action implementation and the justification/objective of the measure.
The PEZA Chief assured that “PEZA is taking necessary measures to guarantee the safety of its employees in all its jurisdiction against COVID-19, which already has reported local cases in the Philippines.”
“We are doing our best not to cripple the economy but also to protect each other in times like this because, as Filipinos, it is our inherent duty to our flag and our country. At the same time, we want to give the best quality of service to our clients despite the threat of COVID-19,” said Plaza.