By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
I.T. enterprises registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) are now allowed to implement work-from-home option without its prior approval.
PEZA issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-011 last Friday allowing IT-registered enterprises to implement the work option “without the need for a Letter of Authority (LOA) from PEZA” as prevention and response mechanism to COVID-19.
Based on the PEZA Memorandum, the easing of approval processed inclide work-from-home by certain employees delivering services identified by the IT enterprise as critical.
Certain employees exhibiting symptoms akin to a person infected with COVID-19 but physically able to work are also allowed to work from home.
Work-from-home is also allowed to a group/s of employees suspected of exposure to persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
The memorandum also allowed reassignment / re-distribution of employees to other PEZA-registered facilities of the IT Enterprise in other PEZA IT Parks/Centers.
I.T. firms may also assign certain employees to work in facilities / buildings that are not PEZA-registered IT Parks/Centers.
The memorandum also increases in the number of employees covered in the Letter of Authority for Business Continuity Plan previously issued by PEZA to the IT Enterprises.
Other justifiable and reasonable courses of action, including pre-emptive action, to respond to COVID-19 are also considered in allowing no prior authority for work-from-home option.
All IT enterprises availing the authorization are also required to submit a report to the PEZA Chief, which will include the particulars of the course/s of action implementation and the justification/objective of the measure.
“PEZA is taking necessary measures to guarantee the safety of its employees in all its jurisdiction against COVID-19, which already has reported local cases in the Philippines,” said PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza.
B. Plaza explained that the issuance of the Memorandum was done as “assistance to PEZA-registered industries for their ability to be flexible and more agile in implementing courses of action that may be immediately needed to respond or prevent the spread of the virus.”
The goal is to assist industries and workers to cope with the threats and dangers of COVID-19, according to Plaza.
“The Memorandum aims to protect the health and welfare of their employees and ensure continued service delivery in the event of a large-scale emergency situation,” she said.
Plaza has been expressing concerns that “PEZA’s locators and industries are badly affected, directly and indirectly, by the COVID-19 threat as they are competing, operating, or interlinked within the global market.”
“PEZA’s export-oriented companies are highly affected by world and local disasters, military and trade wars because PEZA’s total locators or investors are composed by almost 80% foreign export companies,” she added.
“The COVID-19 had numerous economic implications to the country and the companies in terms of investments, exports, imports, and employment. Its spread created uncertainty in the local and international market; endangering the status of our globally competitive investors in the Philippines,” explained Plaza.
Top industries in PEZA include manufacturing industries, which import variety of raw materials from abroad including from China, as well as IT industries. Both industries hold majority of the totality of the operating ecozones around the Philippines.
Already, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) lauded PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate the concerns of industry workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to the COVID-19.