DTI, DOLE conduct inspection of resumed business operations in La Union



Enforcing the business firms to comply with the set guidelines of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as more enterprises resume operations, the tandem agencies recently conducted inspection in business establishments and workplaces in San Fernando City, La Union.

The strict monitoring of business operations seek to ensure that the health protocols and safety measures are properly observed to curtail the COVID-19 spread.

Led by the DTI-Region 1 Director Grace Falgui-Baluyan and DTI-La Union Director Merlie Membrere together with the DOLE team led by Assistant Regional Director Honorina Dian-Baga, they visited the CSI City Mall La Union. The team checked the compliance of the mall including the fast foods and other individual retails shops pursuant to the joint DOLE-DTI Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of Covid-19. All businesses are required to conform to the said guidelines in GCQ and MGCQ areas.

The inspection results revealed that the mall is compliant to the minimum health requirements such as the observance of no facemask-no entry policy, the use of thermal scanning and disinfectant footbaths at the entrance, and the strict concurrence of social distancing.

However, recommendations for improvement were brought out to the mall management such as the daily accomplishment of health declaration form and provision of Covid-19 IEC materials for employees and customers. The absence of safety officer, identified isolation area and directional signage for foot traffic must also be responded and carried out immediately. The mall management agreed to comply with all the recommendations within the week.

While more businesses are allowed to operate, Director Baluyan urged mall goers and consumers to follow the protocols implemented by the establishments for their own safety and protection.

The monitoring of business establishments will also be conducted in the different provinces. A follow-up visit will be done to check on the implementation of the recommendations to ensure compliance to the guidelines by the various business establishments. The results of the monitoring will be reported to the Regional Task Force (RTF) which will be endorsed to Local Government Units (LGUs) should there be a need to enforce sanctions or other appropriate actions for non-compliance. END


Registration of online business, key to consumer protection – trade chief

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged online businesses to register with the government, citing it as key to consumer protection. This comes after the recent directive of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for online sellers to register their businesses on or before 31 July 2020.

In BIR Circular No. 60-2020 released on 10 June, the agency notified all persons doing business and earning income in any manner or form, specifically those engaged in an online business, through any use of electronic platforms and media or any digital means, to follow the Tax Code.

“There is greater traceability if online sellers are registered and this increases the trust factor and confidence of the online buyers in making the transaction online. This addresses the element of trust which is crucial if we are to grow the e-commerce in the country,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He added: “In recent past, issues and complaints on online transactions were the headlines. I believe that the registration of online businesses is for the good of the e-commerce industry if we want this sector to grow.”

The trade chief explained that even in the brick-and-mortar business model, the Department has always been encouraging businesses to register. DTI estimated that there are probably more than 6 million micro entrepreneurs that are not registered– also known as those in the informal sector–and only about 1.5 million micro entrepreneurs registered.

“We know, however, that eventually, the unregistered business will register as they grow in size, because sooner or later, they will have to borrow from formal lending institutions like banks and their audited financial statements will be required. Moreover, if they get to serve larger establishments, official receipts for their sales will be required, thus they will have to be registered,” Sec. Lopez said.

He added, “This reality is true, for both in the brick and mortar and in the online business. At any rate, the rule basically applies to those really in business, regularly selling. Even if such activity is small in size, it must be registered. Anyway, annual income below Php250,000 is exempted from income tax.”

The trade chief emphasized, however, that those selling intermittently, on an irregular basis or selling homemade stuff as a hobby during this period of the pandemic, are understood as not yet in business. Thus, these are not required to register.

He reiterated that business registration has always been the right way of doing business. It is needed in growing a business. It can also increase buyer’s confidence. END


Gradual and steady: PHL keeps competitiveness momentum amid crisis

MANILA– The Philippines kept its momentum with a slight upgrade from 46th to 45th spot in this year’s global competitiveness rankings by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The 2020 World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) by IMD also signaled an encouraging assessment of the country’s climbing competitiveness from a dip in 2018.

The IMD ranking measures the capacity of a country to maintain an environment where enterprises can compete locally and internationally as it assumes wealth creation happens at the enterprise. The ranking was evaluated using the 2019 country measures and perception-based survey from business executives performed in the first quarter of 2020.

The Philippines is the only one among Southeast Asian countries, aside from Singapore, that improved its ranking year-on-year. In terms of growth, the Philippines is consistently among the top performers in the region with an average growth of 6.6% from 2012 to 2019 and posting 6% in 2019, while Malaysia registered 4.3%, Thailand 2.4%, and Indonesia 5%.

With this announcement, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez pointed out that: “The Philippines stands on solid ground and has the momentum to overcome the current crisis.”

Across the different pillars, the country’s major strengths are real GDP growth, long term unemployment, real GDP growth per capita, gross fixed capital formation, effective personal income tax rate, compensation levels, high-tech exports, mobile telephone costs, and ICT service exports, among others. These are aligned with the perception survey that showed the country’s skilled workforce, economic dynamism, open and positive attitude of management, high educational level of the workers, and cost competitiveness are still the top five key factors that make the Philippine economy attractive to investors.

Indicators that yielded the highest improvements included labor force, employment, consumer price inflation, patent applications per capita, distribution infrastructure, among others. Fiscal policies like the implementation of tax reform measures contributed to the Philippines’ high ranking in tax policy (14th). Moreover, successful reforms in the improvement of labor market conditions through the active implementation of small and medium-enterprises (SME) promotion and heightened government support for technical-vocational education and training, among others, enabled the Philippines to retain its 10th place position in the Labor Market indicator, the highest sub-factor for the country.

The trade chief assured that despite the socioeconomic difficulties arising from the COVID-19 crisis, the Philippines demonstrates resilience, flexibility, and adaptability for both the public and private sectors as they face the challenges head-on.

He also said that the Philippine government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), continues to take an active role in nation-building and economic development through the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), which aims to grow globally competitive and innovative industries.

Through i3S, DTI puts innovation at the front and center of its policies, especially as it intensifies efforts to pursue digital transformation and embrace Industry 4.0 new technologies. This is important as the country restarts the economy under the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic. DTI also recognizes the vital role of a vibrant and enabling innovation and entrepreneurship environment in sustaining economic growth and job creation in the future.

Sec. Lopez said, “DTI remains motivated to work even harder to build a stronger, healthier, and more inclusive nation. Through the resumption of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program, we can pump-prime the economy and by implementing programs to reskill and upskill our workforce along with activities to improve the competitiveness of cities and municipalities, aggressive investment promotion, and continuing support to MSMEs and other vulnerable sectors, we can help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID crisis.”

“This is a pivotal moment as the crisis has presented opportunities to be more creative and build more resilient industries by repurposing manufacturing, using more data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and accelerating digital adoption with all the startup work and tech innovation building up in the country, we are ready to expand our horizons and help the economy bounce back quickly,” Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba said.

Sec. Lopez further said: “As we enter 2021, the country will strongly recover from the difficulties brought about by this pandemic while being cautious of the challenges and risks that lie ahead in the new normal. The Philippines must be agile to accelerate reforms and pursue impactful economic policies to sustain the country’s growth momentum and competitiveness moving forward.” END

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