More companies resume operations at Bataan freeport

More companies are back to business in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) here after the temporary suspension of their operations last March due to the community quarantine, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) said on Tuesday.

Engineer Emmanuel Pineda, AFAB administrator, said 81 of the more than 100 enterprises are open anew.

“We are now accelerating efforts to normalize economic activity after temporary suspension of work and business operations in FAB last March,” he said in an interview.

AFAB suspended operations of more than 100 enterprises employing over 40,000 workers due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in the province to stem the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Bataan is now under modified general community quarantine.

Pineda said the 81 multinational firms that have resumed operations are subject to regular inspection to ensure that they adhere to the health guidelines for the safety of workers.

He also said that despite the pandemic, seven new enterprises were added to the list of FAB companies.

A report from the AFAB Enterprise Assistance Department showed there are 40,007 workers employed in the Mariveles freeport, 71.6 percent of them were already regularized.

Pineda said along with efforts of speeding up normalcy in economic activities in FAB, they also address the woes of displaced and disadvantaged workers.

AFAB has entered into an agreement with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to conduct livelihood training programs for displaced workers geared towards helping them with alternative sources of income.

The AFAB Labor Center was tasked to complete a census of FAB workers for a demographic, social and economic characteristics database. The census aims to gather more comprehensive data on the whole population of the freeport.

“This will enable us to identify the possible assistance and skills development to be provided to our workers,” Pineda said.

Despite the low export activities due to the lockdown from April to May, Pineda said their export transactions are now back on track, with an average of 1,276 transactions from June to August this year.

With a variety of industries thriving in the FAB, its import and export activities are also testimonies to how active business in Mariveles is, he said.

“As of 31 August 2020, we have recorded a total export value of US$358.4 million,” Pineda said.

He added that in terms of investments, the Bataan freeport recorded a total of PHP105.2 billion of actual investments from January 1 to September this year

Source: Philippines News Agency

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