BULACAN—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez reiterated the importance of workplace health protocols and the responsibility of every Filipino, with the support of local government units (LGUs) and the national government, in preventing the possible transmission of COVID-19 during the Coordinated Operation to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team Visit to Bulacan on 15 August 2020.

During the visit, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, together with the City Mayors, reported on the response and interventions done by the local government to address the effects of the pandemic in the province. The Governor gave a comprehensive presentation of their best practices to combat COVID-19. Also present at the discussion were Sec. Lopez, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, and Treatment Czar and DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.

High quality reusable and washable non-medical grade face masks were also distributed to Special Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaries in Barangay Guinhawa with the kind assistance of the office of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. This is in fulfillment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to provide vulnerable sectors with the necessary health protection against the virus, as minimum health standards are strictly enforced in local communities. The masks were produced by women cooperatives under the Philippone Commission on Women (PCW) in partnership with DTI’s Shared Service Facilities (SSF) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). END

DTI and DOLE issued joint guidelines for stricter health protocols in the workplace

MANILA—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued on Friday, 14 August, the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-04 or the “DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19” in further efforts to minimize the transmission of the virus in the workplace.

“This JMC is a crucial part of reopening of businesses. As we continue the difficult task of balancing health and the economy, we have to make sure stricter protocols are in place for the protection of our workers,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III added: “This is so far the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the safety and protection of workers and employees in workplaces. The strict observance of these health protocols will make a big difference in our long-drawn battle to defeat Covid 19 and ensure the productivity of the Filipino workforce.'”

The two officials stressed that the JMC has been refined and fine tuned following several consultations with health experts, local government units, and business groups to ensure that it represents the interests of all key sectors.

Among the provisions of the JMC are the enjoining of large- and medium-sized private companies to offer shuttle services and mandatory establishment of temporary isolation facilities for symptomatic employees. Large and medium-sized private establishments are classified as those with assets of above PHP15 million.

Likewise, the guidelines also mandate the wearing of face shields, together with face masks, when interacting with colleagues and customers. It only allows the removal of face shields when not interacting with colleagues and customers, or when the demands of the work or occupational safety and health of employees so require.

Dining in canteen areas have also been prohibited except if there is strict compliance to one-meter physical distancing and if there are provisions of physical barriers. The trade chief emphasized that these provisions are meant to further lower the transmission as workers have been reported to interact with their fellow employees without face masks. Additionally, designated smoking areas shall also be provided with individual booths.

“We understand the added burden for our employers and workers but we request for everyone’s full cooperation as we stress the need to lower the transmission in the workplace,” Sec. Lopez explained.

The trade chief added: “Each one will have to practice self-discipline, self-regulation. Whatever the community quarantine level is, the virus is just always there, waiting.”

Lastly, the JMC also requires the PCR testing for symptomatic employees and close contacts of positive cases. However, the Trade Secretary emphasized that neither rapid testing nor PCR tests are required or recommended for asymptomatic workers to be able to return to work.

“Our constant reminder to our fellow citizens is for their increased consciousness and awareness in order to strengthen the compliance of the workplace prevention protocols,” Sec. Lopez said.

He added: “If we strictly follow these guidelines per person, per company, per city, the health numbers improve. But it is very important to keep the discipline because if we don’t, the numbers will go up again. The numbers will go up and down until the next vaccine, but it will stay low if hindi tayo bibitaw.”

The full version of the JMC 20-04-A can be accessed via: https://bit.ly/DTI-DOLE_JMC2004A. END


Uraro Farmers of Gasan from Marinduque has been selected as one of the three beneficiaries of the 2021 IP Sharing Project fund assistance granted by the Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA), besting other proposals from 12 other countries.

The Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA) is a global IP public institution that promotes creativity and enhances the value of invention. The IP Sharing Project aims to solve everyday problems using patent information with the appropriate technology. With Korea’s experience and know-how in utilizing IP to boost economic growth, KIPA hopes to help developing countries with their IP capabilities.

In 2017, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – MIMAROPA submitted 5 proposals to the 2021 IP Sharing Project of the KIPA, for possible funding. The project received 49 proposals from 12 countries, wherein three of the 5 submitted proposals of DTI MIMAROPA qualified during the pre-selection process. Besides Uraro Farmers of Gasan of Marinduque (Uraro Cookies), the other two pre-selected MSMEs were the Matulatula Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative of Oriental Mindoro (Calamansi Concentrate), and Pakyas Association of Rural Improvement Club of Oriental Mindoro (Calamansi Concentrate).

Last February 12-14, Mr. Clark Son of KIPA and Mr. Youngtae Kim of Kumoh National University were accompanied by DTI MIMAROPA to visit and conduct feasibility study on the 3 qualified MSMEs. During the visit, the MSMEs shared information about their company, operations, and products offered, as well as problems they encounter in production. KIPA, on the other hand, further discussed ways on how to fill gaps in production, through the provision of adequate and efficient machineries. After the interview, they have also scouted capable local manufacturers and fabricators in the area for the proposed provision of machines.

After three months of thorough validation and evaluation, only three proposals from three different countries, including the Uraro Farmers of Gasan, were selected by KIPA for the funding assistance. The machines are expected to arrive in 2021. END