DTI monitors the COVID-19 protocols set for resumed enterprises in ZamPen

To curtail the transmission of the COVID-19 spread as businesses resumed operations in Zamboanga Peninsula, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) guarantee that the employers and workers properly observe the precautionary health measures in the workplace.

DTI-IX OIC-Regional Director Ceferino Rubio joined the DOLE and local government units (LGUs) in the series of region-wide monitoring of barbershops, salons, dine-in and fast food restaurants which were allowed to resume operations last June 7, 2020.

Initial findings on the inspection conducted among the establishments include the presence of waiting area outside the establishment, foot bath, temperature check and disinfection upon entrance for both employees and clients; filling out of health checklist for employees, safe distancing of 1 to 1.5 meters among employees and clients, and use of PPE for employees.

Rubio stressed that post-audit will also be carried out to focus on the mandatory protocols which shall serve as the basis to issue an outright warning to the establishment on the first instance of violation. Upon receipt, the concerned DTI Office shall forward the individual reports of erring establishments to the proper LGU for appropriate enforcement and monitoring procedures. The concerned office is also expected to recommend to the proper LGU: a.) temporary closure of the establishment should the LGU still find the establishment unable to comply within the following day, and b.) erring establishments may only resume operations once proven able to comply the mandatory protocols.

DTI Region 9 continuously conducts the monitoring in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay and the cities of Zamboanga and Isabela. Monitoring covers those establishments that are already allowed to operate during GCQ for Zamboanga City and MGCQ for the rest of the region.

However, Rubio also stressed that the following establishments are not yet allowed to operate during GCQ: gyms, fitness studios and sports facilities, entertainment, business, politically, and or sports related mass gatherings, libraries, archives, museums, gambling and betting activities, travel agency, tour operators, reservation services, and activities of membership organizations.

To date, DTI IX has already reached and inspected 350 establishments, in which 267 establishments has 183% compliance and 83 establishments with partial compliance. END


Barbershops, dine-in restaurants compliant with gov’t health standards

From L to R: Makati Mayor Abigail Binay, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, DILG Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos, National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

MAKATI CITY—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed satisfaction that establishments in a mall in Makati are highly compliant with the minimum health protocols enforced by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

This, following the surprise post-audit inspection on 20 June 2020 of barbershops and dine-in restaurants in Glorietta, conducted by DTI, together with National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Makati Mayor Abigail Binay, and representatives from the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Tourism (DOT), and Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Based on our inspection today and official reports from nationwide monitoring efforts conducted by different teams from DTI, DILG, DOLE, and DOT, together with the respective local government units (LGUs), the rate of compliance is very high,” said Trade Secretary Lopez.

He added, “Most establishments are close to 98-100% compliant, with some even going beyond by implementing the use of technology in the registration before entering by using QR codes for easier contact tracing in the future.”

The compliance monitoring report was based on the adherence of establishments with the current limits on operational capacity, conduct of thermal scanning, implementation of the wearing of face mask, distancing of chairs, sanitation practices, as well as the health gears of workers, among others.

Meanwhile, NTF Chief Implementer Sec. Galvez  was also satisfied with the compliance of businesses, noting that the guidelines implemented were not only to ensure the health and safety of consumers, but also the protection of workers as businesses resume operations.

Starting 15 June, the IATF approved the gradual opening of dine-in service in fast food and restaurants in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) at a 30% seating. The reopened establishments must observe the minimum health standards set by the government, followed by a post-audit mechanism to ensure that  the standards are achieved and continuously observed.

Under the DTI Guidelines on Minimum Health Protocol for Dine-In Restaurants and Fast Food Establishments released on 2 June, these businesses should have tables and chairs at least one meter apart on all sides and be properly sanitized after each customer’s use.

In addition, establishments should also provide proper dividers for face-to-face seating; have visible floor markings for guidance in queueing; have visible and accessible sanitizing equipment; provide food menus per table; practice contactless order-taking; cover pieces of furniture made of porous materials with plastic for ease of sanitation; have clean trash bins for used articles; have clean washrooms and toilets with sufficient soap, water, tissue and toilet paper; and disinfect high-risk areas every 30 minutes.

The full list of guidelines can be accessed through this link: bit.ly/guidelines_resto_fastfood

Establishments found not following the said guidelines will be temporarily closed. Citing a recent incident involving a bar in Makati illegally operating and accepting customers under the GCQ, Mayor Binay warned: “We will not tolerate this kind of activity, especially now that we are in a state of public health emergency.”

Sec. Lopez added, “The temporary closure of establishments is enforced to allow businesses to correct their deficiencies. Once they have addressed these and are found compliant with the protocols, they may resume operations.”

According to Mayor Binay, the effectivity of the imposed health measures is a partnership between the establishments and the customers, emphasizing the need for strong cooperation of both parties. She also asked for the extended patience of customers, given the added safety protocols and long queuing involved when entering establishments.

Sec. Galvez also remarked that while the government is doing its best to balance public health and the reopening of the economy through gradual means, citizens should also have the right mindset when going out. He stressed the importance of observing proper social distancing measures and the need to exercise extreme caution at all times.

“All these efforts are to ensure that the gains that we have acquired during the past months will continue, especially as we work towards slowly and safely easing lockdown restrictions in the Modified GCQ (MGCQ),” the trade chief said. END


DTI investigating report on alleged abuse of PWD
discount cards—trade chief

MANILA—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is currently investigating the report on the alleged abuse of Persons with Disability (PWD) identification cards, following the viral post on social media wherein members of an entire family all had PWD discount cards.

The social media post, showing a photo of a family from Quezon City with members all supposedly having visual impairment and one with psychosocial disability, circulated on social media last 20 June 2020.

“Abuse of privilege in any law ruins the spirit behind it. Such discount is solely meant for actual persons with disability. DTI, through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), is currently investigating the matter,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He reported that a group of restaurant owners has reached out to DTI regarding multiple fraudulent usages of PWD ID cards.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 10754, also known as “An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability”, cardholders may avail of at least 20% discount and exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) for certain goods and services, including food establishments, hotels, and recreational centers, as well as for the availment of medical and dental services and the purchase of essential drugs and medicines.

Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo added that communications have been made to DTI on this growing concern by members of one of the largest groups of restaurant and food establishment owners around the country.

“We are currently dealing with the matter and will file appropriate action against those found having fake PWD cards,” she said.

Sec. Lopez said: “Especially in this time of crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, people should not be abusing their PWD ID cards since many restaurant owners are also facing difficulty in keeping their businesses afloat.”

“Further, such action gives undue discrimination to people who actually have disabilities that we do not immediately see,” he added.

The trade chief also emphasized that such corruption is not tolerated and must immediately be reported to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC). END