Bill seeks to enhance consumer welfare protection

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Bill seeks to enhance consumer welfare protection
Members of the Manila Police District (MPD) patrol around Divisoria in Manila on November 27, 2022, to ensure the safety of shoppers as they buy gifts for the Christmas season.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — As consumer spending accelerates ahead of Christmas and New Year festivities, there is an urgent need to amend the Consumer Act of the Philippines to strengthen the rights of consumers and enhance measures designed to protect them, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.

Gatchalian earlier filed Senate Bill 942 or the proposed Enhanced Consumer Act, which seeks to amend the 30-year-old Republic Act 7394 to strengthen consumer rights and contribute to the improvement of commerce for the benefit of the economy.

“It is important that consumers are empowered to make well-informed decisions as they choose products and services for themselves and their loved ones as this will also empower legitimate enterprises to grow their businesses,” the senator said.

Among the amendments are requiring English or Filipino translation of product labels written in foreign characters or languages before they are allowed to enter the country. This would also enable authorities to determine whether the product has complied with all other labeling requirements and provide consumers with proper guidance on the contents and origin of the product.

The bill also seeks to expand authority to close down establishments caught in flagrante delicto selling substandard and hazardous products.

It also seeks an expansion of regulation on protection from aggressive marketing promotions that significantly impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice on the purchase of a product and service.

The measure provides for the adoption of policies that would take into account the eight basic consumer rights – the right to basic needs, right to choose, right to representation, right to redress, right to consumer education, right to safety, right to a healthy environment, and right to information.

It also spells out responsibilities that consumers need to exercise. These are critical awareness, consumer action to assert and ensure that their rights are protected and not exploited, and social concern or becoming more aware of the impact of the consumption on other citizens, environmental awareness and solidarity.



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