By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

TOYOTA Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP), the largest automotive company in the country, has suspended its operations amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

The move is in line with the decision of global carmaker Toyota Motor Corp. to suspend operations in several vehicle plants, including those in Europe and Asia, as the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) impacts businesses worldwide.

Philippine operations will remain suspended until mid-April, as the enhanced community quarantine is expected to be lifted on April 13.

“We follow government guidelines,” TMP First Vice-President Rommel R. Gutierrez said in a mobile message.

“For now, non-production team members follow a work-from-home scheme,” he said.

TMP head office and manufacturing plant are inside the 82-hectare Toyota Special Economic Zone (TSEZ) in Santa Rosa City, Laguna.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday announced an enhanced community quarantine on Luzon in response to the COVID-19, enforcing strict home quarantine and suspending public transportation.

The quarantine limits the private establishments that may remain open, sparing those that provide basic necessities such as supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies, and banks. Business process outsourcing and export-oriented companies may also remain operational under minimized workforce arrangements.

Toyota halted operations at its plants in Britain and Poland on Wednesday, while operations in the Czech Republic and Turkey will also be suspended this week. Operations in Malaysia are suspended from next Monday until the end of March.

Toyota on Thursday also announced temporary suspension of North American automobile and components plants production, including facilities in the USA, Canada and Mexico, from March 23-24.

“This action is being taken to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, and due to an anticipated decline in market demand related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

“We will conduct a thorough cleaning at all of our manufacturing facilities during the shutdown. This also will allow Toyota employees to prepare and adjust family plans in relation to regional directives to close schools,” it added.