Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat urged tourism establishments anew to apply for the government’s Safety Seal program to gain back the trust of tourists to travel again and help in the safe revival of the industry amid the pandemic.
“The Safety Seal certification program bodes well with the DOT’s priority to ensure the health and safety of both tourists and tourism workers. That being said, I am encouraging all tourism establishments to apply for a Safety Seal, strictly comply with the health and safety guidelines, and have all their employees vaccinated,” Puyat said in a statement on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“Let us continue to make travel fun and safe for all,” she added.
Puyat made the call as more businesses, including tourism establishments, nationwide continue to apply for a Safety Seal certification to assure the public that they are safe with strict health protocols in place.
According to the DOT, a total of 43,332 public and private establishments in the countries have so far been issued with Safety Seal Certifications as of Oct. 1.
The certification is being awarded by the DOT with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to indicate the establishments’ compliance to the minimum public health standards set by the government.
Since the program’s implementation last May, a total of 85,731 applications were received by the issuing agencies as reported by the Safety Seal Technical Working Group (TWG).
Of the total applicants, the TWG said 50.54 percent or a total of 43,332 were approved, while 11.50 percent or 9,858 applications were either denied or referred to the appropriate agency. The remaining percentage, meanwhile, is currently undergoing an inspection process.
Puyat’s message was also echoed by other Department heads as they emphasized the importance of the Safety Seal Certification to help the economy bounce back despite the health crisis.
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the certification program is beneficial to the country’s recovering economy as it boosts the confidence of consumers in going out and patronizing business in the new normal with the assurance that a business establishment is compliant with health protocols.
“Businesses can do their share in the fight against the pandemic and create a healthy space for consumers to transact their purchases and for employees to gainfully and safely earn a living.” Lopez added.
For his part, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año asked owners of establishments, especially those in areas under strict quarantine restrictions, to take this time to apply for a Safety Seal.
“Applying for a Safety Seal is not mandatory. However, business establishments are highly encouraged to apply since this will also help them attract customers which eventually lead to increased sales and profit,” he said.
Meanwhile, DOLE Secretary Silvstre Bello III and DOH Secretary Fancisco Duque III lauded the establishments that have taken the lead in securing their Safety Seal certifications.
“This will build confidence that their respective companies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of their stakeholders and workers,” Bello said.
“The implementation of the Safety Seal Program is a very laudable initiative that highly reinforces our country’s response to combat COVID-19. As we gradually reopen our economy, it is important to ensure that our people are safe, and adherence to minimum public health standards is one vital key to this aspect,’ Duque explained.
Pursuant to the joint memorandum circular of the DOH, DILG, DOLE, DOT, and DTI, a business establishment is eligible to apply for a Safety Seal given that it is duly registered, adopting the Staysafe.ph or any other local government unit-mandated digital contact tracing application, and most importantly, strictly following and implementing the government’s public health protocols.
Metro Manila is still under Alert Level 4, the second highest classification in the pilot implementation of the new Alert Levels System for COVID-19 response in the region which has been extended until Oct. 15.
Under Alert Level 4, establishments and/or activities classified as high-risk for transmission shall not be allowed to operate.
For the allowed operational capacity of dine-in and “al fresco” restaurants, barbershops, personal care services, and the likes, the complete Alert Level Systems guidelines may be viewed here.