02 June 2020 (Tuesday)
Taguig City – With the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has spearheaded the move to help repatriated OFWs and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to go back home after being held in Metro Manila, other parts of Luzon, and Cebu due to the lockdown brought about by the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 4,000 people have been stranded in Luzon and Visayas for ten weeks since the President approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place Luzon under quarantine. Other parts of the country followed and imposed their own lockdowns in hopes to combat the spread of COVID.
“This initiative is a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of PEZA to help our fellowmen go back to their hometown and be with their family,” noted Plaza.
The PEZA Chief added that, “this would not be possible without the help of the volunteers, LGUs. and other agencies. Indeed, we heal as one if we unite and act as one.”
“We thank the office of Senator Bong Go, the IATF, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for helping PEZA in this movement and the City Health Offices of the LGUs in Cebu and Metro Manila for providing free medical checkup,” said Plaza.
Likewise, Plaza thanked “the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for accommodating 73 LSIs in the Villamor Clubhouse Hotel and the Philippine Army for housing 50 LSIs, mostly seniors, PWDs and children, in their sleeping facilities. Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President Noel Manankil for providing shuttle bus services.”
Moreover, Plaza expressed gratitude to PEZA's locator companies like JTI and Panhua, Teradyne (Philippines) Ltd., NKC Manufacturing Inc., Island Central Mall, Sports City (Philippines) Inc., Del Monte Philippines Inc., On Semiconductor Philippines, Timex Phils. Inc., and Qualfon Inc., for providing transportation, donating PPEs and food for these LSIs.”
“We are still tapping more companies for help and assistance in this cause,” noted Plaza.
Plaza as well thanked the head organizers, Fred Changuanco and Erwin Irelands for Cebu and Ann Mayuga and Mona Buque for Metro Manila, and other volunteers for helping PEZA make this possible.
“Truly, cooperation is the key for government agencies and our countrymen to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this crisis,” noted Plaza.
For the duration of May 26-30, about 801 LSIs from Manila and 175 from Cebu have now arrived home thru this initiative.
Plaza explained that, “Observing the Department of Health’s (DOH) protocols, the stranded Caraganons underwent medical checkup prior to their flight and were given travel authority by the Philippine National Police (PNP) after they’ve been issued medical clearance.”
“Upon arrival in Region XIII, the respective LGUs will meet their constituents and bring them for COVID testing. The OFWs can go to their home residence and communities if when they are found negative of COVID,” added Plaza.
In coordination with Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and other passenger ferry companies like 2GO, more are being organized for sweeper flights until all the LSIs go back home. “PEZA is ready to help and assist those who wished to return home,” said Plaza.