Gov’t, food safety advocates forge partnership for tourism revival

Published December 17, 2020, 5:13 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The Department of Tourism (DOT) forged a partnership with Food Safety and Hygiene Academy of the Philippines (FoodSHAP) to support the hotel and restaurant industries as the country gradually reopens for tourism.

Boracay Island

Under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), FoodSHAP will offer sponsorships and advocacies in tourism by providing training, assistance, and information to concerned DOT officers and stakeholders free of charge. 

This would include programs on foundations of food safety, basic food safety for food handlers, principles in practice, and other food safety programs which are deemed necessary. The assistance will also cover provisions of materials and resources such as trainors, books, and examinations. 

“The Philippines is poised to reopen more destinations in the coming weeks. In accordance with health protocols imposed by the government, more tourism enterprises have been allowed to resume operations at a greater capacity. To support the restaurant industry, there is a growing movement to encourage eating out based on making responsible choices and adhering to high safety standards,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the virtual signing ceremony. 

“The new normal poses challenges to the operations of establishments, especially in the way we handle food sanitation and hygiene. It is important to consider all touch points when it comes to food and beverage, whether these are served by room service, in dining areas, or as pre-packaged food,” she added, citing that the safety of guests should be the utmost priority of hospitality establishments during a pandemic. 

In return, the DOT will receive regular reports and updates to enhance education programming and assistance in the development of the Department’s accreditation standards. 

“By increasing consumer confidence and patronizing food and beverage outlets, we will spur economic recovery and revitalize the tourism industry,” she said.  

The virtual signing ceremony was attended by Puyat, FoodSHAP Managing Director Elsie Gatpayat, and DOT Director for Industry Manpower Development Rowena Lu Montecillo. 

FoodSHAP has been implementing the food safety training requirements under the Philippine Food Safety Act of 2013.