Consumers’ Wish List 2016
CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2016 - 9:00am

With a new year always come new hopes, new wishes, and new dreams perhaps? So, what’s on your wish list this year?

Here are some of mine: That I do not have to wade in murky waist-deep floodwaters and risk catching leptospirosis everytime there’s a heavy downpour in our place.  That the never-ending DPWH project in the Open Canal leading to the Mandaluyong-Makati bridge that is causing untold daily aggravations/sufferings to motorists, residents, and establishments in the area finally sees completion. That the horrendous traffic caused by container vans in the Port Area would be a thing of the past. That cab drivers, bus drivers, motorcycle riders, motorists would practice good manners and right road conduct (I wish!). That our local officials would have the decency not to post Christmas-New Year greetings on streamers with their faces on every street corner. That malls would have more accessibility features for the handicapped and the elderly. That every Filipino would have access to the basic essentials of living: a decent roof above one’s head, clean drinking water, food on the table. But of course, I wish for peace in a world where terrorists, religious extremists, assorted criminal elements, and corrupt government officials do not exist and where everyone can dream and realize their full potential.

What’s on our consumers’ wish list for 2016? EcoWaste Coalition, a public interest network of environmental and health groups pursuing sustainable solutions to waste, climate change, and chemical issues facing the country, put together a wish list based on the consumers’ basic rights.

1. The Right To Choose

• Paper or plastic?  Consumers hope they will not have to be asked this question by simply bringing reusable carry bags when they shop.  Switching to reusables will reduce environmental degradation and pollution due to the production, consumption, and disposal of disposable bags.
• Consumers hope the electorate will vote wisely and choose candidates who will speed up the fight against poverty, corruption and criminality, and strive for real progress that will do good to 100-million Filipino consumers while protecting our ecosystems.

• Consumers wish that the products sold in Divisoria and other bargain centers will
offer not only “made in China” items, but also goods produced by Filipino companies and entrepreneurs and those made by our other Asian neighbors to give consumers a wider set of options.

• Consumers hope that restaurants will offer both white rice and brown rice, which is a far nutritious staple.

• Consumers want the public market to have a section for organic agricultural products that are certified free from synthetic chemicals, particularly highly hazardous pesticides.

2. The Right To Safety

• Consumers want to be assured that low-cost products sold in Divisoria and other retail outlets are not of inferior quality, are safe to use, and will not cause damage to health and environment as well as to property.

• That LED lights, which contain no mercury unlike CFLs, be regulated to rid the market of potentially substandard products that pose safety risks.

• For the health authorities to ban and recall toys and other children’s products that are unsafe due to their harmful biological, chemical, mechanical or physical properties.

• For cosmetics containing banned parabens to be removed from the store shelves after the lapse of the grade period that ended on Dec. 31, 2015.  Note that the following preservatives are now prohibited in cosmetics formulations: benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, pentylparaben, and phenylparaben.

3. The Right To Be Informed

Consumers want mandatory labeling of consumer products containing genetically modified organisms, nano materials, and other substances of concern, and for such information to be written large enough to be seen by ordinary mortals with no bionic eyes (and not in fine minuscule print that needs a microscope to be read).

• For duly tested and certified paint products to carry the “lead-safe paint” logo to help consumers distinguish leaded from unleaded paints.

4. The Right To Be Heard

With the coming elections, consumers wish that candidates, especially those seeking to govern the country as the next President, will create a mechanism for voters to contribute or comment on their political platforms.

• That political wannabes will refrain from singing and dancing to woo voters, as well as shun guns, goons, gold, and garbage to ensure poll victory.

• That the elected lawmakers will push and ensure the enactment of reduced income tax rates.

5. The Right To Redress Or Remedy

• Consumers hope more Filipinos will exercise their right to complain and to seek redress against dangerous, shoddy, unsatisfactory and wrongly-priced goods and services as a way of encouraging business and industry to be more accountable to their patrons.

• That online shoppers will be provided with adequate protection against cheaters and swindlers.

• That the victims of pyramiding scams and other fraudulent business activities get justice soon.

6. The Right To Basic Services

• Commuting consumer fervently hope that the public mass transport system, particularly the LRT, MRT, and PNR, will overhaul their services and offer commuters access to affordable, dependable, and quality ride to their destinations.

• That there would be more train coaches, more running elevators and escalators, and more functional toilets in public places.  No more band-aid solutions.

• That there would be increased investments on renewable energy sources to stop climate pollution and solve the perennial power outages, particularly in Mindanao.

• That the government would implement the law requiring the construction of rainwater collectors and water wells, the development of springs, and the rehabilitation of existing water wells to help prevent floods and ensure water security for our communities.

• For greater use of public funds to support expanded Zero Waste programs to prevent and reduce garbage and lessen dependence on landfills and incinerators, including the so-called waste-to-energy plants.”

7. The Right To Consumer Education                         

For the phenomenal AlDub, Kathniel, and other influential celebrities to use their popularity to educate the public about their rights and responsibilities as consumers.

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