ELECTRONICS EXPORTERS asked for movement restrictions on people and cargo to be eased, with companies also starting to plan to move some production out of the Philippines until the logistics situation clears up.

Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Incorporated (SEIPI) President Danilo C. Lachica added in a mobile message Tuesday that he supports the finance department’s appeal to banks not to increase interest rates on loans as businesses struggle to deal with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and lockdown.

“Other ideas would be to extend the due dates on business loans and financial assistance to qualified companies which are at risk if the pandemic lasts longer,” he said, noting that the industry is facing an order backlog especially for medical electronics.

He told ANC Tuesday that many SEIPI companies produce integrated circuits and other components for equipment that help address COVID-19, including ventilators and diagnostic equipment.

Mr. Lachica said in the mobile message that there is too much uncertainty on when the pandemic will be controlled.

“Some companies have thought of moving volumes out of the Philippines. I hope we get these back after normal manufacturing resumes. Companies and employees need lifelines to survive and recover,” he said.

He said SEIPI also supports the transition from an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon to a modified community quarantine, based on suggestions from Presidential Adviser (PA) for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III.

Under ECQ, export-oriented businesses may continue operations but with a minimal workforce provided with accommodations.

“We support PA Concepcion’s suggestion to allow manufacturers to resume operations once we have confidence that the COVID case curve has flattened. We still need to ensure that our workers are safe, but we need to improve cargo and people movement,” Mr. Lachica said, adding that he supports 100% or as many employees as possible to be allowed to come to work.

SEIPI is looking for demand-driven resumption of manufacturing that simultaneously ensures the safety of workers, free movement of cargo and consistent implementation of guidelines among local government, and the removal of checkpoints.

“Remove the checkpoints but focus on consistent testing and monitoring (at) Barangay level,” Mr. Lachica said. — Jenina P. Ibañez