PH’s COVID-19 ‘ground zero’ now hailed as gov’t model for safety

Facade of V-Mall inside the Greenhills Shopping Center. Image from Facebook / Greenhills Mall

MANILA, Philippines — While there are several theories on how the COVID-19 pandemic started in the country, health authorities have agreed that the first localized transmission happened at a prayer room inside the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan.

Over a year since, the local government of San Juan and other government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) would provide the same establishment with a safety seal certification as proof that it has adhered to health protocols.


According to the San Juan LGU, the awarding of the Safety Seal Certification to Compliant Establishments would kick off on Friday, at Greenhills’ V-Mall — which Mayor Francis Zamora said is a testament to the city’s efforts against the disease.

“The first local transmission of COVID-19 happened here in Greenhills Shopping Center. And since then, we have been partners with them in all our efforts in our fight against COVID-19,” Zamora said in a statement.

“From their compliance to our health and safety protocols to allowing the local government to use their theatres to ramp up the city’s vaccination drive, Ortigas & Co. really deserves this award. Our battle cry is to end this here in Greenhills as well,” he added.

A short while after the Department of Health announced last January 30, 2020 the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the country, most of the infections recorded concerned foreigners who came in sick.

Shortly after, things took a turn for the worse when local transmission was recorded when a 62-year-old man who frequented the Muslim prayer hall in Greenhills contracted COVID-19, and infected his wife.

San Juan’s LGU said that several DILG and DTI officials, along with attached agencies would join Zamora in awarding the safety seal to the said establishment.

According to the city, the program is “an inter-agency initiative of DILG, DOH, DTI, DOT, and DOLE which grants establishments a Safety Seal that will be conspicuously displayed in the business establishment,” as a form of assurance to consumers that health protocols are being strictly observed inside the area.

“For establishments to get the safety seal, they must abide by the minimum health protocols implemented by IATF and national government. They must also use the to get the seal,” San Juan LGU said.

“It is free of charge and valid for six months from the date of issuance and can be renewed subject to continued compliance to the requirements set by the government,” it added.


Zamora said that such initiative is a welcome sight for the city, as they try to move along with the threat of the pandemic.

“We welcome this kind of initiative as it aligns with what we are doing here in our city. Recently, we launched two executive orders that will encourage establishments to get their employees vaccinated and give incentives to vaccinated customers to boost consumer confidence and revive our economy,” Zamora said.


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