With the presence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, which are believed to be one of the major factors in the surge in cases of Covid-19 in the country, there is a need to contain the spread of Covid-19 and prevent future surges.

To enforce strict and continual compliance with the minimum public health standards (MPHS) especially in business establishments and major public places, the Department of Labor and Employment will issue a safety seal certification for establishments in 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 certification is a voluntary certification scheme that affirms that an establishment is compliant with the minimum health protocols set by the government and uses or integrates its contact tracing with StaySafe.ph.

StaySafe.ph is the country’s official health condition reporting, contact tracing, and social distancing system authorized by the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

The safety seal certification program aims to assure the public of an establishment’s compliance with the MPHS set by the government; encourage the adoption of the StaySafe.ph application to strengthen the contact tracing initiative of the government and effectively contain the spread of the Covid-19; and safely reopen the economy.

If the establishments or companies comply with the minimum health protocols and other requirements of the safety seal, workers would be more confident to say, “Yes, our workplace is safe and when I go to work, I will be assured that my risk to acquire Covid-19 will be very low and will also boost worker’s confidence in the safety at their workplace.”

To ensure strict and continual compliance to health protocols, the certification will only be valid for six months from the date of its issuance – except for tourism establishments, which certifications are valid for a year – and has to be renewed a month before expiration.

Aside from the DOLE, there are several government agencies authorized to issue the safety seal certificate namely the Department of Tourism for establishments like primary tourism enterprises; accommodation establishments (hotels, resorts, apartment hotels, and other accredited accommodation establishments); travel and tour services; meetings, incentives, conferences and events venues/facilities; and restaurants inside hotels/resorts.

The Department of Trade and Industry can issue the safety seal certificate to groceries, supermarkets, membership shopping clubs, convenience stores, construction supply/ hardware stores, logistics service providers (outlets), barbershops and salons, and service and repair shops.

The local government unit (city or municipality) issues the safety seal certificate to malls, wet markets, other retail stores, restaurant outside hotels/resorts, fast food, eateries, coffee shops, 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.

Department of the Interior and Local Go-vernment and the Philippine National Police will issue the safety seal certificate to 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 other issuing agencies.

To ensure strict and continual compliance to health protocols, the certification will only be valid for six months from the date of its issuance – except for tourism establishments, which certifications are valid for a year – and has to be renewed a month before expiration.

END/Patrick T Rillorta