THE government is allowing export-oriented companies to boost their operations as long as they provide accommodations and shuttle service for workers during the expanded Luzon-wide lockdown.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in memorandum circular 20-14 dated April 11 said export enterprises are allowed to “enhance” operations by giving workers on-site or near-site accommodations within five kilometers of the factory, or within the same municipality or city as the facility.

Employees of export enterprises that live within five kilometers of their workplace are allowed to work.

These export firms may deploy point-to-point shuttle services for employees in near-site accommodations or residences, provided that social distancing and routine disinfection of vehicles is observed.

The same DTI circular also allows outsourcing companies and their support service providers to deliver, install, and troubleshoot equipment for employees who are under a work-from-home arrangement.

They will now be allowed to provide telecommunications support, logistical support such as food and essential goods, and other support services for outsourcing personnel in temporary housing or working from home at any time during the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Outsourcing and export companies were previously given deadlines to move equipment for work-from-home arrangements. A downsized work force was allowed to continue working on-site provided that they were given temporary accommodations.

The Luzon-wide lockdown, which was initially scheduled to end on April 12, was extended up to April 30.

For these arrangements, employees of export and outsourcing companies, along with their support service providers, are allowed to travel to and from work provided that they present a company ID with the address of employer and the employee’s residence and a certificate of employment.

Export personnel must also present the company’s certificate of registration, while support service personnel must show certification from the outsourcing and export enterprise.

The certificate of registration presented by employees of export companies are those issued by the Board of Investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, other investment promotion agencies, or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The memorandum said that all local government units (LGU) are directed to follow DTI’s advisory, and copies of the memorandum will be presented to the Philippine National Police and LGUs at checkpoints.

There are over 900,000 workers in the outsourcing industry in Metro Manila, according to the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

As of March 20, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority said 703 companies in Luzon economic zones suspended operations due to the lockdown. — Jenina P. Ibañez