396 workers lose jobs as 2 export firms stop operations

Nearly 400 workers lost their jobs after two Mindanao-based export companies shut down operations amid the health crisis, according to an industry group.

The Philippine Exporters Federation said South Bukidnon Fresh Trading Inc. and Valencia Rubbertex Inc. closed shop over their inability to sustain manufacturing activities because of the quarantine restrictions.

PhilExport Cagayan de Oro Chapter managing director Valerie Lasmarias said only the two companies disclosed their decision to close shop, while others might not be as transparent in declaring the status of their operations.

“I have no concrete data as to how many firms have temporarily shut down, but as far as I know, some companies have either completely shut down or some must have been operational but have minimal exports or catering to the local market only,” she said.

She said the limited operating capacities and transport restrictions had affected the efficiency of factories.

South Bukidnon Trading is a unit of Del Monte Philippines with 204 employees. Its last export transaction was worth P60.65 million.

Meanwhile, Valencia Rubbertex employed 192 workers, with latest exports receipts valued at P100 million.

“If I’m not mistaken, Valencia Rubbertex was already operating on a more or less unstable footing, and push came to shove when the pandemic happened,” Lasmarias said.

“South Bukidnon, on the other hand, shut down because of the pandemic,” she said.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority said export companies had lost over P100 billion since the lockdown was enforced mid-March and might continue to incur P34 billion in losses every month until the economy stabilized.

PEZA said that while health and safety is a top government priority, the economy is also as important.

Data showed that coming from a harsh lockdown, about 35.5 percent of the export companies had not yet resumed operations, while 55.7 percent of the economic zone workforce had yet to return to work.

PEZA said among 2,634 ecozone locators, only 55 were fully operational; 804 companies were operating on skeletal force on site with work from home component; 532 were on skeletal force; and 310 companies were operating purely on work-from-home mode.

Topics: Philippine Exporters Federation , South Bukidnon Fresh Trading Inc. , Valencia Rubbertex Inc. , export , Philippine Economic Zone Authority , PEZA
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