02 July 2020 (Thursday)
Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has reported that “PEZA has highly maintained the economy with majority of its companies operational and its employees working amidst the COVID-19 crisis.”
According to reports collected by PEZA from its ecozones about status of operations for the period of June 11-15, 2020, a total of 2,517 companies or 78%, are operating nationwide. Continued operations have allowed 1,180,557 workers or 75% to continue working even under skeletal work force or work-from-home arrangements.
Out of 2,688 companies in Luzon, 2,139 companies or 80% are operating. In Visayas and Mindanao, companies operating are 355 companies or 70% and 43 companies or 90% respectively.
For industries, 78% of IT/BPO companies and 88% of manufacturing companies are operating.
Meanwhile, only about 700 companies, or 22%, have stopped its operations, affecting about 386,587 employees.
Plaza explained that, “There are various ways in which we can help our country cope with this new reality. Such includes implementing ‘balancing acts’ to protect the Filipinos’ health and welfare, jobs, and the economy.”
PEZA’s balancing acts
“Since the start of this crisis, PEZA has done its best to implement effective balancing acts to protect the health and welfare of its workers and in assisting the continuous operations of its ecozones and export companies,” noted Plaza.
The Director General added that, “PEZA has implemented stringent procedures in compliance to the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).” Such the implementation of strict social distancing measures, the usage of thermal scanning equipment, alcohol, sanitizers, PPEs, and face masks, and regular disinfection of workplace / production areas among others.
PEZA also required its registered enterprises to provide accommodation for their employees inside and/or within the immediate vicinity of the zone and provide shuttle services to help employees get to work.
Several memos are also being released to guide and issue directives to our registered enterprises that continue to operate in this ‘new normal’. These are being issued to ecozones directly through the Zone Managers and these are posted and available at the PEZA website.
“It is our top priority that our ecozones are COVID-free after following these measures,” noted Plaza.
The Director General added that “PEZA is thankful for its locator companies and ecozone operators for their cooperation and compliance to PEZA's health and quarantine measures and protocols, maintaining its 4,542 locator companies and 408 economic zones as COVID-free, and majority of its companies operational for the benefit of 1.6 million workers.”
Further, PEZA launched initiatives to jumpstart with its support to its registered companies, industries and locators including the agency’s support to immediate economic recovery post COVID-19.
“PEZA implemented economic stimulus and adjustments to its existing policies to assist and support the rehabilitation and business continuity plans of the export enterprises as well as enhance the efficiency factors to put back a more vibrant economy,” said the PEZA Chief.
Plaza backs DOF’s call to put NCR and CALABARZON under MGCQ
Plaza has likewise backed the call of Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to place Metro Manila and Calabarzon the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) “as quickly as possible” to boost the country’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement comes after Secretary Dominguez reported the status of the Philippines’ finances during the report of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the COVID crisis.
According to Plaza, “I agree with Secretary Dominguez that Metro Manila and Calabarzon must already be placed under MGCQ as it is where majority of the economy is based.”
“We cannot anymore afford to place these areas under GCQ because it will further impact the economy and in effect, grievously affect our countrymen,” said the PEZA Chief.
Senator Franklin Drilon also backed the call, saying that “any further delay in the easing of quarantine restrictions in these two economic centers will cause further damage to our economy and our people who have lost their livelihood."
In June 30, President Duterte announced that the whole of NCR and other parts of Luzon including Calabarzon will remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15.