This was stressed by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez at the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the Safety Seal Certification Program and its guidelines led by DTI, the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The Safety Seal Certification Program is a program created to ensure compliance with the Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS), including the adoption and use of the StaySafe.ph application in covered establishments.
Lopez said that establishments without the seal can still operate, but stressed that with or without the app, all establishments are required to comply with the minimum safety and health protocols set by the government.
“Since this Safety Seal certification is voluntary, it is up to establishments to self-certify themselves as being compliant with the health protocols. This will remove any fear by establishments that this is just another level of bureaucracy that they have to adjust to, or another bureaucratic requirement that they have to fulfill,” he said.
Lopez, however, explained that the presence of the safety seal means that the establishment is committing to safety seal with regard to compliance. Complaints can be filed against establishments that do not comply and government agencies concerned will conduct investigations for the establishment to correct or face sanction.
“But the official app is a seal of good housekeeping so it is an added value but not a requirement. The seal is a good mark the establishment is compliant with the government requirements,” he added.
Tourism Secretary Puyat also explained that even if the seal is just an “additional seal of good housekeeping.” She said that primary tourism enterprises (TEs), which are DOT-accredited, are compliant with the minimum public health standards set by the government and have adopted or integrated the StaySafe.ph in contact tracing application.
“While the certification is not mandatory, we appeal to the DOT-accredited TEs to participate in this certification program to strengthen the contact-tracing system of the government. More importantly, safety-conscious travelers will always be drawn to products that are certified safe by government bodies,” the tourism chief urged.
Through the Safety Seal certification, Lopez said, the government aims to increase public confidence in businesses at this time of the pandemic—while also ensuring compliance in the minimum health protocols.
“This is because the signage of the Safety Seal—which affirms that an establishment has been found compliant with these health protocols—will assure customers that it is safe to be in that establishment. Likewise, it indicates that the establishment is using the StaySafe digital contact tracing application to strengthen the contact tracing initiative of the government—now led by DILG—to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19,” Lopez concluded.
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