GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has launched its safety seal certification program to promote compliance among businesses with the health protocols and control measures amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Karl Vincent Quiepo, chief administrative officer of the city mayor’s office, said the initial rollout of the initiative is underway on Tuesday based on Executive Order (EO) No. 29 issued last week by Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
He said the program focuses on the certification and issuance of safety seals to business establishments that have complied with the minimum public health standards and adopted the contact tracing systems.
Quiepo said it is in line with National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 87, which adopted the safety seal certification program, and its implementing guidelines.
He cited the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-053 and Joint MC 21-01 of the DILG, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Tourism.
The official said the program mainly expands the compliance inspections on Covid-19 protocols of business establishments initially implemented late last year by the local government.
Under EO 29, safety seals will be issued to businesses that will pass the voluntary inspection and assessment for the certification program.
It covers malls, wet markets and other retail stores; restaurants outside hotels and resorts; fastfood, eateries and coffee shops; banks, money changers, remittance centers and pawnshops; carwash shops; laundry service centers; art galleries, libraries, museums and zoo; sports centers; tutorial, testing and review centers; gyms and spas; cinemas and arcades; and, other establishments not covered in JMC 21-01.
Those eligible are businesses that have complied with the registration and accreditation requirements, enforced the minimum public health standards, and used the city’s Trace and Protect Action Team or Tapat system and the StaySafe.ph application.
The inspection will be done by joint teams composed of representatives from the local government and the city police.
“If found compliant, they will be given safety seals. If not, they will be given time to correct their deficiencies and apply for reassessment,” Quiepo said in a virtual program orientation.
But he said the safety certification and seals may be revoked motu proprio or by the initiative of the business permits and licensing division through valid complaint of violations.
The local government may conduct surprise inspections based on the complaints or if it monitors clustering of cases from the establishments and willful violation of health standards, he said.
Quiepo, who chairs the city’s inspection and certification team, said the erring businesses will be issued with notices to explain and mandated to respond within 48 hours, or their safety seals would be automatically recalled.
He clarified that the revocation of safety seals does not mean the suspension of operation for the concerned businesses as they will be given a chance to take corrective actions on their violations.
“We will exhaust all efforts to inform and discuss these concerns with the business establishment before we implement more stricter measures,” he said. (PNA)