Ecozone companies continue to operate, reports PEZA

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Majority or 89 percent of companies operating inside the various economic zones in the country continue to operate under various working schemes, according to Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza.

Plaza said their ecozones are operating amid strict compliance to the government’s guidelines for the implementation of the Luzon-wide lockdown to fight local transmission of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Many continue with their operations using work from home for admin staffs, IT/BPOS, while looking for housing for the skeletal workers, hired shuttle busses to ferry workers, strict thermal scanning before and after riding bus and zones, with facial masks,” said Plaza.

PEZA has also issued guidelines on their compliance to the directives of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) resolution and Office of the President memos.

“Our Zone Managers are closely coordinating with locators, LGUs and other agencies of the IATF, said Plaza.

“We continue with an unhampered passage of our industry cargoes and shuttle buses of workers with PEZA stickers and Signages in the trucks, busses and vehicles & social distancing requirements. Big companies continue to operate applying flexi time and skeletal of their work force.”

PEZA enterprises account for 80 percent of the country’s exports. There are 4,627 companies registered employing 1.5 million workers.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also chairman,” said that cargoes are free to move especially the supply chain on basic goods, agriculture, manufacturing and services.

IT-business process management services are allowed to operate but on work from home schemes for their employees.

Other establishments are open such as supermarkets, public market, drugstores, banks, money transfer/remittance centers, hospitals, clinics. Food preparations such carinderia and micro and small food establishments like sari-sari stores are allowed to open, but there will be no dine-in services, all take-out only.

Lopez further said that the P1 billion fund granted to his agency as part of the P27 billion stimulus fund will be rolled out to micro and small businesses under the Pondo Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program after the Luzon-wide lockdown.

Lopez cited the P3 program saying the payment rate in the first program had 98 percent repayment rate. “While it looks small, this is P1 billion is part of the P1.5 billion budget this year,” he said.