ASSISTANCE. Mariveles Mayor Jocelyn Castaneda (2nd from left) and Administrator Emmanuel Pineda (second right) of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, lead the signing of the memorandum of agreement on Friday (March 20, 2020) for the grant of PHP3 million cash assistance to displaced freeport workers. Some 40,000 workers were displaced with the temporary closure of least 97 multi-national firms at the Bataan freeport in compliance with the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

MARIVELES, Bataan – The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) on Friday granted PHP3 million in financial assistance to this municipality to alleviate the economic effects on workers over the temporary closure of 97 multi-national firms here in compliance to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon declared by President Rodrigo Duterte.

AFAB Administrator Emmanuel Pineda and Mayor Jocelyn Castaneda signed the memorandum of agreement for the grant.

Hazel Ellorin, AFAB information officer, said affected by the work suspension were more than 40,000 workers, 74% or 32,002 of whom are from this town.

Pineda said he understood the plight of workers and sympathized with them in view of the public health crisis brought about by the new coronavirus disease (Covid–19).

He said that while AFAB continuously supports and abides by the guidelines set by the national government to prevent the spread of the virus, the freeport also prioritizes the best interest of workers.

“Ito ay pagpapakita ng aming sinserong pagnanais na matulungan ang bawat isa hindi lamang sa pagsugpo ng pagkalat ng virus kundi upang mabigyan ng dagliang tugon ang pangangailangan lalo ng na ng mga freeport workers na hindi makakapasok sa trabaho (This is a demonstration of our sincere desire to help everyone not only in curbing the spread of the virus but also to give an immediate response to the needs especially of the freeport workers who could not come to work),” Pineda said.

The mayor thanked AFAB and said the financial assistance will be primarily given to members of the community composed of freeport workers and other low-income earners displaced by the enhanced community quarantine.

Last Tuesday, this town was placed under a state of calamity. (PNA)