‘Safety seals’ issued to businesses hit only 7.2K
The government has so far issued safety seals to more than 7,200 businesses that volunteered to get checked for their minimum health protocols compliance.
The number, however, represents a mere fraction of the more than a million business establishments in the country. This, despite the incentive of being allowed to operate at a higher capacity.
Different government agencies tasked to look into specific kinds of business establishments have issued 7,244 safety seals as of July, according to a status report that Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez presented during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. The bulk of the safety seals, or 4,591, were granted by local government units in Metro Manila.
The program, which was announced last year and launched in April 2021, aims to address the weakening of consumer confidence during the pandemic. This is not mandatory, but those who qualify will be able to have an additional 10-percent operating capacity on top of what is currently allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
“This should encourage more customers,” Lopez said of the program during the hearing. “Since they are following the minimum health standard, there is an incentive: [an] additional 10 percentage points operating capacity. So if what is allowed is 40-percent, they can operate at 50-percent operating capacity.”
To qualify, the establishment would need to follow the minimum health protocols and use the StaySafe contact tracing app. A seal is good for six months, except for tourism enterprises, since their safety seals would be considered valid for a year, according to Joint Memorandum Circular No. 21-01.
Trade Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte, who is also the chief of staff of Lopez, has not yet responded to the Inquirer’s request for comment as of press time. He is in charge of the safety seal data, including the collection of information from other implementing agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Tourism.
The figures presented by Lopez on Wednesday showed the total number of safety seals issued, but it did not provide other relevant information, such as the total number of applications received by all implementing agencies, and the number of denied applications.
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