PH: MILLIONS JOBS LOST& THOUSANDS Businesses& Factories Closed;Mass Transport Shutdown on COVID19

Updated: Mar 24

Coronavirus: Philippine workers lose jobs, stocks plunge, shops close as pandemic hits economy. Manila lockdown cripples businesses big and small. Lockdown shutters More than 700 Luzon factories

Photo Source: Straitstimes https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/coronavirus-lockdown-brings-out-the-best-even-from-those-with-the-least-in-the


Coronavirus: Philippines quarantines island of 57 million people


President Rodrigo Duterte has put the entire Philippine island of Luzon under an "enhanced community quarantine" until April 12 to stop the spread of coronavirus infections.

In a televised public address on Monday, Duterte said public movement would be restricted to only buying food, medicine and other essential items necessary for survival.

Effectively a lockdown of the country's largest and most populous island, the measures affect about 57 million people.

"We already have an enhanced community quarantine which we started two days ago [over Manila], we are just expanding it to the entire Luzon," said Panelo.


Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-philippines-quarantines-island-57-million-people-200316161225532.html


Duterte expands Philippine lockdown to 60M people


Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday widened a month-long lockdown in the capital region to cover the main Luzon island to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus.

An "enhanced quarantine" of the island with a population of at least 57 million people will be implemented until April 12, Duterte said in a televised address. Mainland Luzon will be on a strict home quarantine that the police and military will oversee, and workers must work from home to "significantly" limit movement, he said.

"Everyone must stay at home, leaving their houses only to buy food, medicine and other basics necessary for survival in the coming days," Duterte said. He also asked private companies to advance workers' pay.


The Philippine Stock Exchange announced late Monday night that it will suspend trading from Tuesday "until further notice" after Duterte expanded the month-long lockdown.

"Mass transport suspension and work suspension in the private sector plus the mandate of the government to stay at home constrained us to suspend trading and clearing and settlement for now," the bourse's Chief Operating Officer Roel Refran said.


The cost of containment

The move to contain the virus, which has infected at least 140 people in the Philippines and killed a dozen, will come at a cost to an economy that draws more than 70% of its output from the main island of Luzon, which includes the capital region. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will consider a deeper policy rate cut of 50 basis points at its March 19 meeting, Gov. Benjamin Diokno said after the expanded quarantine was announced.

"It's like slamming the breaks on the economy," said Nicky Franco, head of research at Abacus Securities Corp. in Manila. Duterte's move will further damp economic activity and markets, he said, forecasting a further slump in the main stock index to as low as 4,500.

Gross domestic product growth this quarter may slip to 5% year-on-year and slow to 5.4% for the entire 2020, said Carlo Asuncion, an economist at Union Bank of the Philippines. That forecast may have to be revised again "because everything is very fluid and uncertain," Asuncion said.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index shed a further 7.9% to 5,335.37 at close, before Duterte's latest announcement while the peso extended its decline against the dollar for the fourth straight session.


"Growth will likely take a hit, that much is certain," said Howie Lee, economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. "But BSP still has a lot of monetary policy room and the consolation is that the Philippines has a lower reliance on exports than other regional peers. An aggressive monetary policy is expected this week to partially offset the effects from this quarantine of Luzon," Lee said.


Source: https://www.postguam.com/the_globe/philippines_asia/duterte-expands-philippine-lockdown-to-m-people/article_89839e10-67fa-11ea-8e06-a770bb763bed.html


Coronavirus: Philippine workers lose jobs, stocks plunge, shops close as pandemic hits economy


As Luzon goes into lockdown and other regions place severe restrictions of movement on residents, many businesses are struggling and workers have been let goIn the popular holiday island of Boracay, travel operators are suffering a double blow, after being forced to shut for six months in 2018 over pollution issues.

Celebrity chef Him Uy de Baron’s restaurants in the Philippines have mostly been closed for now.

Following the government’s order to lock down Luzon – home of the capital Manila and the most populous island in the country with 55 million residents – no one is allowed to dine in amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“People can’t eat out now in Manila. They can send one person out at a time to pick up groceries and cooked food from restaurants. Many restaurants have shut already, especially the casual dining and fine dining restaurants who do not do deliveries,” he said.

“I’m right now with a big [restaurant] group that can perhaps ride this out. My heart goes out to the smaller businesses who go day to day.”

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a national state of calamity to tap emergency funds and placed Luzon under an effective lockdown until April 13.

Similar restrictions of movement were implemented in China’s Hubei province where the first virus infections were reported, while Italy and Malaysia have also embarked on community quarantine efforts to slow the outbreak.


On Luzon, only one person in every household is allowed to leave home to purchase necessities such as food. Only the private establishments providing the necessities, such as food markets, hospitals and banks, can stay open. Shopping centres, such as the popular SM Mall of Asia, have been closed and mass public transport facilities have been suspended. From Friday, all airports in Luzon will not operate outbound international flights, dealing a blow to the struggling aviation industry.


Similar policies have been implemented in other parts of the Philippines, such as the islands of Mindanao and Visayas, limiting the movements of the citizens there and the operations of businesses, leading to closed shops and workers left without jobs.

The Stock Exchange Index plunged by 13.3 per cent on Thursday, closing at the lowest level since January 2012 amid concerns that the government’s 27 billion peso (US$528 million) fiscal package to bolster the economy and help citizens financially was not enough.

Foreign investors have sold US$480.5 million net of Philippine stocks this year, according to Bloomberg, while a report by JP Morgan last Saturday forecast that the Philippine economy for this year would only see a year-on-year growth of 5.1 per cent, instead of the 6.2 per cent it estimated earlier.


The priority right now should be on containing the spread of the virus, support for the public health system, and social support for all who will be displaced and affected.Maria Ela Atienza, University of the Philippines Diliman

Luis Corral, vice-president of the Associated Labour Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said the government must urgently help those who were out of jobs.

“No one at this time can estimate the fallout in terms of possible job losses except to state the obvious, that we fear it may be deep and enduring,” Corral said in an interview.

Last week, the National Economic and Development Authority estimated that up to 60,000 people working in the tourism industry would lose their jobs. Corral feared the actual figure would be even higher.

“The enhanced community quarantine has shut down almost all businesses in Luzon, and the Visayas and Mindanao are following suit except for the frontline health care sector, groceries, selected bank branches as well as nonbank financial intermediaries and pharmacies,” he said.

In the fiscal package, 2 billion pesos (US$39 million) have been set aside for social protection programmes for workers. Another 14 billion pesos would be used to help the tourism sector, while 3.1 billion pesos would be on items aimed at stopping the outbreak, such as buying Covid-19 test kits.


Maria Ela Atienza, a professor from the University of the Philippines Diliman, questioned why about half the money in the government’s fiscal package was spent on tourism.

“The economy will definitely take a blow as a result of the Covid-19 and the lockdown … the priority right now should be on containing the spread of the virus, support for the public health system, and social support for all who will be displaced and affected,” said Atenza, the head of the social science department. “This is a wake-up call for institutions and the public who have long been neglected social welfare and public health support.”

She criticised the government for not giving clear guidelines on how the lockdown would be implemented. Some of those who still have to work needed to walk because public transport was suspended.


Gideon Lasco, an academic and newspaper columnist, said a 2018 study found that one in two people in the Philippines are on some form of food insecurity – for example not having enough food to eat – and the situation would be much worse during the outbreak.

“We could be facing a humanitarian crisis, unless decisive action is taken. For instance, offering emergency cash subsidies, ensuring access to food and basic services,” he said in an interview.

“Ultimately the Philippine economy will be hard hit too, just like the rest of the world, but my foremost concern is the informal sector and those for whom ‘no work, no pay’ applies,” Lasco said. “This is no longer a question of whether we will be affected, but how we will protect those affected the most.”


Meanwhile, in Boracay island, a popular tourism destination in Western Visayas known for its white-sand beaches, restaurateur Nowie Potenciano is worried.

He runs several outlets that have been closed. The virus has been a double whammy for him and other business owners because for six months in 2018, the whole island was shut for a clean-up. Back then, Potenciano said he ran pop-up stalls in Manila so his staff could earn their keep. This time, he has had no choice but to ask them to go on leave.

“The past few weeks have obviously been difficult, especially because we have to come to terms with closing again so soon after we were shut down for six months earlier,” he said. “It’s even a little scarier now, because there’s no precedent to this and we have no idea when it will end.”

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Source: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3076006/coronavirus-philippine-workers-lose-jobs-stocks-plunge-shops


Manila lockdown cripples businesses big and small


President Duterte considering further drastic measures to control

Drastic quarantine measures imposed on the Philippine capital Manila left many of the city's busiest shopping centers virtually empty over the weekend, dealing a major blow to the country's $330 billion economy.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Manila-lockdown-cripples-businesses-big-and-small?fbclid=IwAR2b-ElnY3WQakSxuzknLabjdgxKX-zuYj51QdsNoHAfkg3MWtRY61dP9NY


Coronavirus: Metro Manila becomes a ghost town under Philippines government lockdown


The Philippine capital is normally choked with traffic and activity but the government’s community quarantine has now emptied its streetsThe quarantine has been criticised because nearly 3 million people commute daily and at least 1 million fled before the quarantine took effect

As the Philippines confronts an unprecedented health crisis in the form of the coronavirus outbreak, with public confusion heightened by contradictory orders from authorities, an unfamiliar hush had by Sunday fallen over its capital.

In Metro Manila, traffic was magically cleared from the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue ring road, known as Edsa, normally choked by infamous gridlock. The sounds of blaring music and honking cars, the rumble and screech of passenger buses revving up in stops and starts – all that was gone as the community quarantine imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte took effect.

The streets emptied of people and transport, as they might during a Manny Pacquiao boxing match or on Good Friday. This time, though, it was because of the coronavirus: a silent killer that has turned loved ones into unwitting hosts.


The government has responded with a wide-ranging quarantine, enforced by heavily armed soldiers and police. A video demonstration showed soldiers wearing camouflage uniforms and armed with assault rifles practising the inspection of a passenger bus, leading some residents to assume military rule had been imposed.

By Saturday night, dozens of military and police checkpoints had sprung up around the border of the capital, mainly to scrutinise the papers of those seeking entry.

The government has relaxed entry restrictions for the nearly 3 million people who commute daily from neighbouring provinces to work in the capital, and this heavily debated provision was the major sticking point in establishing the quarantine guidelines.


Source: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3075299/coronavirus-metro-manila-becomes-ghost-town-under


Lockdown shutters 700 Luzon factories


Uncertainty is hanging over the heads of tens of thousands of minimum wage workers in hundreds of factories producing car parts, electronics, and other industrial and consumer goods in Luzon, which have suspended operations due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Charito Plaza, director general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), said on Friday that this was the first time that such massive closures triggered by “a very serious global crisis” have hit the Philippines’ import-export sector.


As of Friday afternoon, 703 companies have suspended operations, according to Peza.

In Cavite alone, 309 companies had temporarily shut down, affecting 86,549 workers, Plaza said.

There are 379 ecozones across Luzon. Plaza did not say how many Luzon workers in total were affected.


Cavite, Batangas situation

Cavite has 15 economic zones, 11 of which manufacture car parts, textile, garments, prefabricated houses, electronics and food. Rosario town hosts the largest ecozone in the province.


Some of the companies have provided financial assistance to their workers but others sent their employees on forced leaves without pay.

Lorie Castanas, an employee of Japanese-owned car accessory maker EMI-Yazaki Corp. in Imus City, Cavite, said only about 20 employees were asked to report back to work on Friday. She and the rest were furloughed, she said.

In Cavite, entire industrial zones were shuttered, leaving only a handful of “essential” personnel to push remaining deliveries plus a few security guards.

Since the suspension of public transportation, Cavite workers had to walk an average of two hours to factories that produced garments, textile, electronic parts, tobacco products and prefabricated houses.

On Thursday evening, Peza issued a memorandum shutting down the economic zones in Tanza, Gen. Trias City, and Rosario, all in Cavite.


In Batangas, the city government of Sto. Tomas will start preventing company shuttles from gong in and out of industrial parks on Saturday as a tighter measure to “restrict people’s movement.”

City information officer Gerry Laresma said companies could still operate as long as they provided temporary housing for their workers.

In a phone interview, Plaza said Peza met with Cavite government officials and the locators, whose operations had been hampered by the health quarantines or had found it too expensive to provide temporary employee housing.

Plaza said she had learned of at least three workers with “strong symptoms” of the coronavirus. She gave no other details.

Gennie Isidro, a 46-year-old mother who works at Korean Daegyoung Apparel Inc. In Rosario, said employees were told to take “a vacation” next week and wait for instructions. But they won’t get paid for the days they did not work.

Her son works at the Japanese-owned House Technologies Industries in Gen. Trias City. He, too, is on unpaid leave.


Payment in advance

Plaza said some of the big companies have offered their workers a month’s pay in advance.

Joseph Gacosta, Cavite provincial director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said some of the factories have advanced the P5,000 assistance promised by the government to displaced workers, which the companies will later reimburse.

Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor Remulla said among the companies that went into a “voluntary production shutdown” was Wu Kong Singapore with about 18,000 employees. The company manufactures wood building products.

“What I fear is that if this (situation) lingers, they (companies) might decide to transfer their production quota to their other branches in other countries just to avoid delays (in deliveries),” Plaza said.


SAN PEDRO CITY—Uncertainty is hanging over the heads of tens of thousands of minimum wage workers in hundreds of factories producing car parts, electronics, and other industrial and consumer goods in Luzon, which have suspended operations due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Charito Plaza, director general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), said on Friday that this was the first time that such massive closures triggered by “a very serious global crisis” have hit the Philippines’ import-export sector.

As of Friday afternoon, 703 companies have suspended operations, according to Peza.

In Cavite alone, 309 companies had temporarily shut down, affecting 86,549 workers, Plaza said.

There are 379 ecozones across Luzon. Plaza did not say how many Luzon workers in total were affected.


Cavite, Batangas situation

Cavite has 15 economic zones, 11 of which manufacture car parts, textile, garments, prefabricated houses, electronics and food. Rosario town hosts the largest ecozone in the province.


Some of the companies have provided financial assistance to their workers but others sent their employees on forced leaves without pay.

Lorie Castanas, an employee of Japanese-owned car accessory maker EMI-Yazaki Corp. in Imus City, Cavite, said only about 20 employees were asked to report back to work on Friday. She and the rest were furloughed, she said.

In Cavite, entire industrial zones were shuttered, leaving only a handful of “essential” personnel to push remaining deliveries plus a few security guards.

Since the suspension of public transportation, Cavite workers had to walk an average of two hours to factories that produced garments, textile, electronic parts, tobacco products and prefabricated houses.

On Thursday evening, Peza issued a memorandum shutting down the economic zones in Tanza, Gen. Trias City, and Rosario, all in Cavite.

In Batangas, the city government of Sto. Tomas will start preventing company shuttles from gong in and out of industrial parks on Saturday as a tighter measure to “restrict people’s movement.”

City information officer Gerry Laresma said companies could still operate as long as they provided temporary housing for their workers.

In a phone interview, Plaza said Peza met with Cavite government officials and the locators, whose operations had been hampered by the health quarantines or had found it too expensive to provide temporary employee housing.

Plaza said she had learned of at least three workers with “strong symptoms” of the coronavirus. She gave no other details.

Gennie Isidro, a 46-year-old mother who works at Korean Daegyoung Apparel Inc. In Rosario, said employees were told to take “a vacation” next week and wait for instructions. But they won’t get paid for the days they did not work.

Her son works at the Japanese-owned House Technologies Industries in Gen. Trias City. He, too, is on unpaid leave.


Payment in advance

Plaza said some of the big companies have offered their workers a month’s pay in advance.

Joseph Gacosta, Cavite provincial director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said some of the factories have advanced the P5,000 assistance promised by the government to displaced workers, which the companies will later reimburse.

Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor Remulla said among the companies that went into a “voluntary production shutdown” was Wu Kong Singapore with about 18,000 employees. The company manufactures wood building products.

“What I fear is that if this (situation) lingers, they (companies) might decide to transfer their production quota to their other branches in other countries just to avoid delays (in deliveries),” Plaza said.

If that happens, they might “ultimately transfer” their entire factory out of the country, she said.


Cement makers, too

Also on Friday, the country’s three largest cement manufacturers temporarily shut down their factories in Luzon, including their distribution operations.

They cited the need to protect the health and safety of their workers, customers and the communities where they are located from the novel coronavirus, which causes the acute respiratory disease COVID-19.

The largest producer, Holcim Philippines, suspended work at its factories in Bacnotan in La Union province and in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Its terminals in Calaca and Mabini, Batangas, and in Manila as well as its dry mix factory in Paranaque City have also stopped dispatching products, the company disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange (SEC) on Friday.

The cement plants of Holcim in La Union, Bulacan and Davao have a combined annual production capacity of 10 million metric tons.

The company said its plants and terminals in Visayas and Mindanao would continue operating.

Cemex Holdings Philippines, also told the SEC that it had shut down its Solid Cement plant in Antipolo City and suspended deliveries.

But it said its APO Cement plant in Naga, Cebu, would continue operating.

Cemex had the capacity to produce 5.7 million tons in 2018. Its Solid Cement plant alone has an annual capacity of 1.9 million metric tons.


Another cement maker, Republic Cement, also announced the suspension of factory operations and dispatch from Luzon, but its plants in Visayas and Mindanao will continue to run.

Holcim said it implemented a work-from-home arrangements for employees in its Taguig head office and others in Luzon.

Republic said the company was “one with the nation in the fight against COVID-19 and we look forward to bouncing back as a safer and stronger republic.”


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