37 Bataan freeport firms to resume ops

May 24, 2020

MARIVELES, Bataan – At least 37 out of the 100 companies at the Freeport Area of Bataan here are set to resume operations after the province has been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Hazel Keith Ellorin, information officer of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan said some 6,000 to 8,000 of the total 40,000 workers are expected to be back to work.

Ellorin said those companies that would open are allowed to resume operation under the MECQ rules.

“The number of workers will be finalized and has to be submitted to FAB before the companies can operate,” she said.

She said the companies permitted to operate may utilize maximum workforce depending on the area of the workplace, with one–meter physical distancing.

Emmanuel Pineda, the AFAB administrator, said they are open under a skeleton workforce to deliver essential services to the public and to support the locator companies and businesses to open within the freeport.

He said that there are companies that may operate at full operational capacity while some are permitted to use the maximum allowable number of workers.

“I would like to reiterate that the AFAB will only allow the maximum number of workers that would fit the workspaces without violating the one-meter physical distancing, subject to the inspection and approval of the AFAB,” Pineda said.

He said that safety protocols must always be observed.

These include the strict physical distancing, use of face masks or face shield, and routine disinfection using 70 percent alcohol or other disinfectants and sanitizers, regular hand washing, and daily monitoring and submission of health checklist mandated by the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment.

Pineda also said prescribed work arrangements may also be implemented such as work-from-home, four-day or compressed workweek, staggered working hours, or a combination of the options.

For locators in the hotel industry, he said only those with long-term bookings are partially allowed to operate with a maximum of 40 percent skeleton workforce while all covered enterprises must submit a list of employees to report for work for the duration of the MECQ to the AFAB-Incident Management Team for the issuance of the AFAB worker’s pass.

He said that with the easing of the ECQ to MECQ, all enterprises and other establishments permitted to operate in the FAB may now allow workers residing within this town to report for work and point-to-point shuttle services shall be provided for the workers.

He also said that workers may also use their personal or private vehicles, provided that they abide by the safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Private motorcycles and bicycles are also allowed with a strict load limit of one.

“But back-riding is not allowed. Personal vehicles, on the other hand, shall follow the load limit of two passengers per row,” he said.

Pineda also said that during the MECQ, only essential and priority construction projects would be allowed to resume its activities, may it be public or private, provided that they strictly adhere to the construction safety guidelines set by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Small-scale construction projects are still not allowed to resume.

He asked everyone to cooperate and abide by the health and safety guidelines of the government.

To date, FAB remains free of coronavirus disease 2019.