THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said its registered companies can choose to stop operations amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

PEZA said in a statement on Friday companies have the prerogative to shut down due to the lack of raw materials and importation from foreign suppliers.

They may also do so if there is a shortage of workers as employees cannot travel after the suspension of public transport and if worker housing accommodations close to the zones are too costly.

Companies may also close as they decide to transfer their full investment to other countries or to move their production quota, machine rise and equipment to foreign branches.

The Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) stopped operations on Thursday as the number of persons under investigation and monitoring for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increased in the area.

CEZ has 439 companies employing a total of 68,058 employees.

“PEZA values the health and safety of its locators and workers as well as its surrounding communities and supports the government’s effort in trying to stop the spread of this virus. Thus, companies may opt to keep a skeletal workforce for basic admin, maintenance and security,” PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said.

“Employees who will come in will need approval from their Zone Administrator and will be required to wear a face mask and undergo thermal scanning.”

PEZA said that economic zones aiming to shut down must first consult with locators, company associations, and PEZA.

Ms. Plaza said workers in its economic zones still in operation pass through checkpoints using PEZA stickers on cargo vehicles and shuttle buses.

“Social distancing and thermal scanning are being implemented on all vehicles. Facial masks are also required for their employees when going to work. Big companies have also adapted the work-from-home scheme and provided housing for their skeletal workforce who will need to come in.” — Jenina M. Ibañez