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Half of Subic Freeport firms back to business

Jun 3, 2020 @ 16:19
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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – At least 50 percent of the firms in this Freeport had resumed operation following the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) on Monday.

This developed after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) approved the operation of some 868 companies doing core business activities and providing essential services.

The companies passed the compliance assessment by the SBMA.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said on Wednesday that most of those allowed to operate under various levels of quarantine are manufacturers of export products, producers, and suppliers of food and medicine, those involved in logistics operation and utility operators.

Eisma said the assessment entails an ocular inspection by SBMA health and safety officials, as well as the Incident Management Team, which coordinates the agency’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response program, and is based on guidelines on workplace prevention and control of Covid-19 issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Among the requirements for submission is the company’s personnel deployment plan (PDP), which takes into consideration safe physical distancing in the workplace.

Earlier, SBMA allowed 568 firms to remain open when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) took effect on March 16, and then approved the reopening of 286 more companies after Subic transitioned to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) on May 16.

“The total number of locators that are now allowed to operate is just half of the 1,648 enterprises registered in Subic, but we are expecting more reopening in the coming weeks, as more qualified companies comply with minimum safety protocols specified under government guidelines,” Eisma said.

SBMA deputy administrator for business Kenneth Rementilla said that Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) guidelines categorized industries into four groups:

1) 100 percent or full operational capacity

2) 50 percent up to full operational capacity

3) 50 percent work-on-site arrangements, work-from-home and ther alternative work arrangements

4) Not allowed to operate such as gyms, fitness studios and sports facilities; entertainment and amusement industries; libraries, museums, and other cultural centers; tourist destinations; travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service; gambling and betting stations; personal care services; and any other leisure establishments that promote mass gathering.

“All applications for reopening by Freeport companies are checked against the SBMA Business and Investment Group’s consolidated list of locators that listed the firms under the four categories,” Rementilla

Under GCQ, the SBMA relaxed access to the Freeport as more business locators resumed operation.

Eisma, however, said that strict health and safety measures against Covid-19 will remain in force. (PNA)

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