THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it has ordered work-from-home arrangements where possible and transportation arrangements for economic zone employees as Metro Manila goes into community quarantine for the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is also arranging for the free movement of goods through checkpoints, including a scheme for accrediting cargo vehicles carrying economic zone raw materials or finished goods.

In a statement Friday, PEZA directed economic zones nationwide to operate on a “business as usual” basis with the fewest staff feasible.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza instructed PEZA offices and ecozones to implement alternative work schemes during the entire period of the quarantine.

Deputy Directors-General and NCR (National Capital Region) Zone Managers will decide on the work schemes for the PEZA head office and zone offices in Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday ordered a community quarantine around Metro Manila, halting land, domestic, and sea travel in and out of the capital region between March 15 to April 14. Workers may enter and exit Metro Manila by showing their company ID at checkpoints.

“PEZA caters to both foreign and local clients who brings investments to the country. With this, employees interact with various clients in the day-to-day basis. We, in PEZA, (must) make sure the safety and welfare of our workers and clients alike,” Ms. Plaza said.

Public zones and special zones outside of NCR will have four-day work weeks of either Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday. Employees can come in between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

PEZA said that it wrote to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assist with employee and cargo travel in and out of Metro Manila.

“Passes/stickers shall include PEZA-accredited trucks transporting goods that are either for import or export of PEZA-registered companies,” Plaza said.

PEZA last week released a memorandum circular allowing information technology enterprises in economic zones to develop work-from-home arrangements or reassign employees to other facilities without prior approval from the authority.

“We are doing our best not to cripple the economy but also to protect each other in times like this because, as Filipinos, it is our inherent duty to our flag and our country. At the same time, we want to give the best quality of service to our clients despite the threat of COVID-19,” Ms. Plaza said. — Jenina P. Ibañez