Fewer than 1% of Japanese firms in Philippines are operating normally due to COVID-19: survey

07, Apr. 2020

Photo by Mara Rivera on Unsplash
Photo by Mara Rivera on Unsplash

MANILA, NNA – Fewer than 1 percent of Japanese-invested companies in the Philippines are operating normally amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a survey this month by a Japanese business organization.

Restrictions on entering and exiting Metro Manila plus the surrounding Luzon Island have throttled business activities at the subsidiaries of Japanese companies in the country. Government orders that also apply travel took effect March 17 and were due to be lifted April 12. The government decided Tuesday to extend further to April 30.

A mere 0.8 percent of respondents to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines’ April 2-4 survey said they were operating normally, as compared with 1.8 percent in a March 20-24 survey.

Of the 264 respondents, 12.5 percent said they had suspended corporate activities, a decrease from 16.3 percent in the previous survey. Respondents operating on minimum personnel increased from 39.4 percent in the March survey to 48.5 percent in the latest poll.

Among manufacturers, the number of businesses operating on minimum personnel shot from 41.7 percent to 61.9 percent over the past half month, the April survey found. This increase tracked the government’s standardizing of cargo shipment rules related to virus containment.

Impacts of the Philippine efforts to contain COVID-19 have prompted some of the companies to review wage-increase plans this year, the survey found.

Nearly 31 percent told the survey they intend to review wage increase proposals and 0.8 percent replied they have already made changes. The largest percentage of these businesses, or 31.7 percent, said they will pare back planned increases by 2 percent, followed by 17.1 percent saying proposed hikes will fall by 3 percent.

Among the respondents, 33.1 percent of manufacturers and 30.1 percent of non-manufacturing businesses intend to review or have already revised planned salary increases.

About 10 percent of the total across industries said they will delay the timing of wage increases and 2.3 percent said they have postponed salary hikes.

Of the 1,350 Japanese employees working with the 264 surveyed companies and organizations, 989 stay in Southeast Asia’s island nation and 79 were planning to go back to Japan between April 3 and April 10.