As the COVID-19 quarantine-related restrictions for commerce and transportation are lifted in the Philippines, companies are dusting off desks, cleaning coffee mugs, warming up equipment and gradually bringing back staff to resume full operations. Of primary interest to manufacturing companies like Microchip Technology Philippines are the restrictions on the allowable workforce, the movement of personnel, transportation, and health and safety protocols affecting factory staffing, materials availability, and the ability to ship products. In the Philippines, these restrictions started to scale back in mid-May and are staged to continue in a series of continuing reductions every two weeks through the end of June. As business operations recover, challenges remain in managing the workforce, negotiating the supply chain and understanding the expenses required to operate under the “new norm” while Business Continuity Plans continue to be reviewed and revised.
Here are some of the more important business-related elements of the quarantine levels enacted by the Philippines:
Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ): In effect from March 17 through May 15, 2020, this was the initial lockdown with the strictest requirements, most notably requiring the general population to stay at home, imposing curfews, prohibiting all public gatherings including schools, halting public transportation and banning air travel while allowing cargo flights, skeletal workforces (~15%) for essential businesses (BPOs, IT and exporters, for example) and travel using some private vehicles with varying types of passes required to clear checkpoints.