The Department of Tourism (DOT) has urged tourism establishments in the Philippines to participate in the government’s “Safety Seal Certification Program” to affirm compliance with health and safety protocols and to draw more visitors that would help in the industry’s revival amid the pandemic.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat made the call after signing the implementing guidelines of the Safety Seal Certification Program with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday, April 23.
The Safety Seal Certification Program is a program created to ensure compliance with the minimum public health standards, including the adoption and use of the StaySafe.ph application in covered establishments.
“The DOT is among the implementing and issuing agencies, and its focus are the 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,” Puyat said.
According to Puyat, the primary TEs include accommodation establishments such as hotels and resorts; travel and tour services; meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) venues or facilities; and restaurants inside hotels or resorts.
“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,” the tourism chief explained.
“More importantly, safety-conscious travelers will always be drawn to products that are certified safe by government bodies,” she added.
Under the joint memorandum circular signed by the five government agencies, the issuance of a Safety Seal will require compliance with registration or accreditation requirements.
For interested applicants in the tourism sector, Puyat said the Department will create a microsite containing the following information:
- Implementing Guidelines of the Safety Seal Certification Program
- Checklist for the Type of Establishments Covered by the Issuing Authority
- Contact Details of Inspection Units
- Downloadable Safety Seal Toolkit
- List of All Establishments Issued with Safety Seal, including status (Active, Revoked, Reinstated)
- Complaint Hotlines
- Request Form for Reassessment or Reinstatement of Safety Seal
According to the DOT, the certification seal is valid for a year and can be revoked by the issuing agencies if the establishment is found non-compliant.
The circular stated that if the violation refers to any of the minimum public health standards, the business establishment will be given another 48 hours from the time the Safety Seal is revoked to implement corrective actions.
Failure to correct the deficiency may result in the suspension of operations, as ordered by the city or municipality until corrective actions are taken, it added.