Clark, Subic free ports shut doors to foreign, local tourists

Jun A. Malig
Clark, Subic free ports shut doors to foreign, local tourists
Both Clark and Subic order business process outsourcing companies to provide temporary housing for their staff inside the free ports during the lockdown

 

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) here and the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) in nearby Zambales province both shut their doors to foreign and local tourists in compliance with Malacanang’s Luzon-wide lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Effective on 18 March 2020, only employees in specific business enterprises will be allowed to and from the Freeport. These include workers in the food sector (groceries, supermarkets, duty free shops, convenience stores), gasoline stations, clinics and hospitals, drug stores, banks, payment and remittance centers, waste management (garbage collection), utility companies (power, water, telcos), logistics, grounds maintenance (street sweeping, grass cutting), BPOs and manufacturing,” the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) said in a press release emailed to Rappler. 

The CDC ordered on Wednesday, March 18, the closure of CFZ’s Sapang Bato and Don Juico Avenue’s gates, both located in Angeles City. The main gate, Friendship Road gate, Mabalacat gate, and the 2 entrance points from the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways remain open.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Monday, March 16, the Luzon-wide lockdown, which the government called enhanced community quarantine.

Housed inside freeport

The government-owned and controlled corporation also said that business process outsourcing and manufacturing companies must provide housing to their workers inside this free port.

It urged locators and stakeholders to use the CDC online services for their transactions. 

“In a bid to discourage personal appearances for transactions and processing of documents in CDC offices, the state-owned firm is encouraging locators and stakeholders utilize the online services of CDC and other forms of communication such as telephones, email, and teleconferences,” it said.

In the SBFZ, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority announced the strict checking of vehicles and its occupants at the Tipo gate, Rizal gate, 14th St. gate, Kalaklan gate and Morong gate of the free port.

The SBMA said that in its public advisory on the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine that only employees of businesses providing basic necessities like food and medicines will be allowed to enter SBFZ.

It said that workers of business process outsourcing and export-oriented industries will also be allowed inside the free port if their companies would provide their housing needs.

“Business process outsourcing and export-oriented industries shall remain operational, provided that strict social distancing measures are observed and that their respective personnel shall be given appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements by March 18, 2020,” the SBMA said.

The SBMA also announced that its Pass and ID Division would issue SBMA identification cards to free port employees only until March 18. – Rappler.com