The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Palawan has approved the safety seal applications of three major business establishments in the province that will ensure their compliance with the minimum health protocols.

Information officer Persival Narbonita said Thursday, June 17, that applications of two supermarkets and a department store in the city were already approved while one is still pending as it is waiting for inspection before it receives the safety seal which is a good housekeeping seal given by DTI.

These are the supermarkets at Robinsons Place Palawan and at SM City Puerto Princesa, and the convenience store inside the SM Store.

The DTI is directed as the issuing authority of the safety seal over establishments of groceries, supermarkets, membership shopping clubs, convenience stores, construction supply or hardware stores, logistics, service providers (outlets), barbershops and salons, and service and repair shops based on the joint memorandum circular no. 21-01 with the offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Tourism (DoT).

“Ang natanggap namin nag-online apply sa DTI safety seal ay 17. Out of that, tatlo lang ang under ng DTI. ‘Yong others ay under ng LGU kaya na-deny namin. Ang proseso ay ‘yong mga taga-Puerto Princesa at Palawan, nag-a-apply online then binabato ng head office namin sa region. From region, binabato sa amin for inspection ng establishment,” Narbonita said.

He added that the safety seal can be issued within two to three days as long as the establishment covered by the issuing authority is compliant and qualified with the requirements during the inspection.

“Sa tingin ko, ang medyo mahirapan dito ay ‘yong maliliit kaunti na hindi masyado nila na-practice ang minimum health protocols. Halimbawa, wala silang thermal scanner, hindi sila gumamit ng staysafe na app, isa ‘yon sa tinitingnan kasi. Walang masyadong social distancing siguro, hindi nagsusuot ng face mask ang mga empleyado. Upon inspection, kailangan i-correct nila ‘yon,” he said.

The DTI-Palawan has no target figure of possible approved establishments in safety seal as it is not mandatory.

Narbonita pointed out that it could be challenging on their part to encourage business establishments despite its benefit, but he added that their office has a continuous effort in text blasts, sending emails to establishments, and information dissemination through media.

“Walang problema sa mga mall kasi corporate, kailangan talaga nila i-comply. Itong dito sa mga medyo hindi sanay na mag-comply, ina-advocate namin na ito ay para sa inyo (business establishments), proteksyon ito sa mga mamimili ninyo na ibig sabihin, ang establisyemento namin ay sumusunod sa minimum health protocols kasi meron na kaming safety seal. Kampante ang tao na bibili,” he said.

“Ang kasunod kasi nito ay the re-opening of the business economy. Ang purpose niya, dinadahan-dahan. Kapag na-institutionalize na sa tao at establishments na ganon pala (benefits), maganda ‘yon sa ekonomiya,” he added.

The safety seal will be valid within six months period and the DTI plans to include monitoring of the maintenance and compliance of the establishments every month after they have received the safety seals. The consumers could also send their complaints to DTI if non-compliance has been noticed in a particular business establishment covered by the department.

The issuance of a seal will be revoked if the violation will be proven and the establishment must re-apply to have another safety seal.

If the business establishment offers multiple services, the safety seals will be applied to the different issuing agencies. However, Narbonita stressed that this is not mandatory.

The joint memorandum stated that the DOT is directed to be the issuing authority of safety seal for primary tourism enterprises, accommodation establishments (hotels, resorts, apartment hotels, and other accredited accommodation establishments), travel and tour services, meetings, incentives, conferences & events (MICE) venues and facilities, and restaurants inside hotels and resorts.

DOLE on the other hand issues safety seals to manufacturing, construction sites, utilities (electric, water, gas, air conditioning supply, sewerage, waste management),  information and communication companies (private publication, news, movie production, TV and radio companies), and warehouses.

The local government unit is tasked to cover malls, wet markets,  other retail stores, restaurants outside hotels and resorts, fast food, eateries, coffeeshops, etc., banks, money changers, pawnshops, remittance centers, car wash, laundry service centers, art galleries, libraries, museums, zoo, sports centers, tutorial, testing, and review centers, gyms, spas, cinemas, arcades, and all other private establishments.

The DILG or the Philippine National Police (PNP) is the issuing authority over city halls, municipal halls, provincial capitols, all other local government unit facilities and buildings, police camps and stations, Bureau of Fire Protection offices and fire stations,  provincial/district/city jails, barangay halls and other barangay facilities, and all other public establishments not covered by the other issuing agencies.

Meanwhile, the Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) said in its virtual briefing on safety seal certification that the pilot testing in the covered establishments of the DILG and LGU will run on the last week of June and is expected to be full-blown by the month of July.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.