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Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19

Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19
March 10, 2020
Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19

10 March 2020 (Tuesday)

Taguig City –The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) lauded on Tuesday PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate the concerns of industry workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In view of providing assistance to ecozone IT enterprises responding to the spread of COVID-19, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), since Friday, issued a Memorandum Circular addressed to all ecozone IT enterprises which allowed them to immediately implement courses of action in relation to COVID-19 including work-from-home by certain employees exhibiting symptoms or suspected of exposure to COVID-19 virus.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza explained that the issuance of the Memorandum was done as “assistance to PEZA-registered industries for their ability to be flexible and more agile in implementing courses of action that may be immediately needed to respond or prevent the spread of the virus.”

She said the goal is to assist industries and workers to cope with the threats and dangers of COVID-19. The Memorandum aims “to protect the health and welfare of their employees and ensure continued service delivery in the event of a large-scale emergency situation.”

IBPAP consultant, Mr.Mike Montero, said in a statement that “PEZA’s issuance of the said Memorandum is a testament to how PEZA has been incomparably excellent in terms of being responsive to the needs of not only registered companies, but also to our people.”

Coronavirus’ impact to exports

Plaza has been expressing concerns that “PEZA’s locators and industries are badly affected, directly and indirectly, by the COVID-19 threat as they are competing, operating, or interlinked within the global market.”

“PEZA’s export-oriented companies are highly affected by world and local disasters, military and trade wars because PEZA’s total locators or investors are composed by almost 80% foreign export companies,” she added.

“The COVID-19 matter have numerous economic implications to the country and the companies in terms of investments, exports, imports, and employment. Its spread created uncertainty in the local and international market; endangering the status of our globally competitive investors in the Philippines,” explained Plaza.

Top industries in PEZA include manufacturing industries, which import variety of raw materials from abroad including from China, as well as IT industries. Both industries hold majority of the totality of the operating ecozones around the Philippines.

PEZA allows work-from-home option for ecozone IT enterprises

Memorandum Circular No. 2020-011 of PEZA authorized PEZA-registered I.T. 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 preemptive action, to respond to COVID-19.

All IT 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.”

During the crisis in January of the Taal Volcano eruption, PEZA has similarly provided assistance to PEZA-registered industries in coping with the natural calamity. These includes prioritization of imports needed by PEZA industries for their continued business operations and their production and import of face masks.