Laguna companies report more job displacements with shock lockdown announcement
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 5) – Calabarzon business owners were shocked at news of varying degrees of foreclosure announced just hours before the stricter rules took effect.
The Interagency Working Group for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said Thursday evening that the Laguna province, which is home to many commercial factories, will return to enhanced community quarantine on the same day as Metro Manila to fight infections caused by the highly contagious variant of COVID-19 Delta.
Calabarzon is second behind Metro Manila in the number of new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. Cavite, Rizal and Lucena City have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine, while Batangas and Quezon province will remain under general community quarantine with increased restrictions from August 6 to 15.
This is bad news for businesses in the country’s manufacturing hub, where even large factories are barely recovering from last year’s shutdowns.
First Vice President Atty. Rommel Gutierrez of Toyota Motors Philippines, which operates an auto plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, said a lockdown would result in a loss of production of up to 200 vehicles a day and send around 1,000 employees temporarily out of work.
“We are still waiting for the announcement of the ECQ but if the ECQ is imposed again on Laguna, we have no choice but to stop the operations of the plant,” he told CNN Philippines in a telephone interview.
âIt’s still a step back. This is really going to put us back into recovery mode in the coming months to recover production lost during the ECQ, âadded Gutierrez, who is also chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Automobile Manufacturers.
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Ahead of the ECQ’s surprise decision, which came just hours before the first day of the week-long lockdown, Gutierrez appealed: “‘Wag’yung biglaan [Donât do it hastily]. We also have to plan, especially our production side. There are some preparations to be made.
The official said production was up 40% from 2020, but that would collapse again if the lockdowns were enforced. Employees would likely have to work overtime once restrictions are relaxed to catch up with monthly and annual vehicle production targets, Gutierrez added.
Meanwhile, world food maker Nissin has said it does not “foresee any major disruptions” at its Laguna plant because they are allowed to continue operating even under the strictest restrictions.
“Although we have been forced to make significant changes to our operations over the past 16 months, we are fortunate that much of our business has proven to be resilient to the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said. he said in a statement, adding that the government has ensured the “unhindered” movement of goods and workers in the sector.
Transport shuttles are being provided to workers on site, the company added, while adjustments will be made to the Delta variant through improved ventilation, air filtration and a movement of workers.
More restrictions have spoiled the smooth running of startups like Auro chocolate, which operates a factory in Calamba, Laguna. New product offerings and expansion plans have been set aside to focus on survival.
âWe serve the hospitality industry, airlines, resorts and casinos as well as the restaurant industry, both domestically and internationally. With their closure, much of our demand disappears overnight, âsaid Kelly Go, co-founder of Auro Chocolate.
“Of course we understand the Delta variant and this is a serious global concern, but at the same time we also have a responsibility to our employees to continue to bring them to life given all the struggles they have already been through.” , she said. added.
Go added that the chocolate brand was set to revive pre-pandemic sales volumes, only to be disrupted again. She called for clearer policies for public transport, border checkpoints and movement limits for the impending ECQ.
“The longer the deadline, the better – but a deadline also with clear details is what would be most appreciated,” she said. âWe also want to have a lot of clarity on important services. “