MANILA - Factories supplying food packaging may continue to operate despite a lockdown order imposed in Luzon to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Saturday.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Lopez said this was to avoid a shortage in the supply chain.
"Allowed na rin na mag-produce sila ng mga karton at delata sa packaging. Allowed po na magproduce sila para hindi magkaroon ng shortage sa supply chain," Lopez said.
(Manufacturers are allowed to produce boxes and cans for food packaging. This is to avoid a shortage in the supply chain.)
Cabinet Secretary Prospero Nograles, spokesperson of the interagency task force on the coronavirus response, earlier said food companies can operate at half of their total workforce during the ongoing enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
But Lopez said factories may go beyond the threshold for basic necessities depending on the available supply in the market.
"'Yung kakailangananin pa magtrabaho beyond the 50 percent, may mga importanteng produkto iaa-allow naman po natin iyon. (Gaya ng mga) delata, instant noodles or tinapay very basic at hindi puwedeng mawala sa merkado kaya it can go beyond 50 percent,” he said.
(We will allow manufacturers to operate beyond the 50 percent workforce threshold for basic necessities like canned meat, instant noodles or bread. It’s very basic and it can't go out of stock in the market.)
Luzon is currently under enhanced community quarantine, which only allows for transport of basic goods and services such as food and medicine, among others, to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Rex Agarrado of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (PAMPI) earlier said their factories had a hard time receiving raw materials and packaging as they were barred entry in checkpoints, delaying the manufacturing process.
Under lockdown guidelines, the movement of cargo shall be unhampered.