1 M still jobless, DTI urges successful safety seal program

Published June 16, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

There are still 1 million unemployed individuals due to the pandemic, but they could be reintegrated back to the workforce pool should the government’s Safety Seal Certification program becomes successful.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez explained at the virtual Townhall Session on Intensifying Prevent-Detect-Isolate/Quarantine-Treat Reintegrate (PDITR) Response that at the current unemployment rate of 7.1 percent there are 3.4 million unemployed Filipinos as against the 5 percent unemployment rate or 2.4 million jobless people before the pandemic or a difference of 1 million jobless individuals.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

To get back to the 5 percent pre-pandemic jobless rate, Lopez has urged establishments to help the 1 million unemployed back to their work by complying with the Safety Seal Certification program.

“Remember, if there is no work it is certain that our fellow Filipinos are suffering from poverty and their families are experiencing hunger,” said Lopez in a mix of Tagalog and English.

To help the unemployed get back to work, Lopez urged establishments to be certified with the Safety Seal Program because this means additional 10 percent operating capacity once they are approved. Although, the certification program is not mandatory, having one could boost consumer and business confidence. It is key to reopen the economy safely.

“Let’s help them get back to work by strengthening the minimum public health standards with PDITR,” the trade chief said stressing that by having higher operating capacity establishments can employ more.

He even appealed to the patriotism of everyone by helping in creating jobs for the jobless to end poverty and hunger adding that “becoming a hero does not mean dying, but by being able to save lives.”

The Safety Seal Certification is being issued by different government authorities — DTI, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) covers manufacturing, construction sites, utilities, information and communications firms, and warehouses, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is in charge of all government offices, and Local Government Units (LGUs) for malls, restaurants, banks, remittance centers, car wash, laundry service centers, art galleries, sports centers, tutorials, testing and review centers, gyms and spas, cinemas , arcades, and other private establishments in their respective areas.

The DTI is in charge of groceries, supermarkets, membership shopping clubs, convenience stores, construction supply/hardware, outlets of logistics services providers, barbershops and salons, and service and repair shops.

So far, the DTI has already issued 133 Safety Seal certifications. There are 794 establishments due for inspection, 759 for evaluation, and 112 denied or referred to other agencies.

An establishment will just file their application online and do self-assessment. Once they feel confident of meeting the requirements, they can request for inspection by the assigned government agency or their LGU.

The Safety Seal requirements include valid Mayor’s Permit and accreditation requirements for hotels the Department of Tourism, compliance with the minimum public health standards, and registration with the StaySafe.p or any LGU-mandated digital contact tracing application.