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Published December 4, 2022, 1:23 PM
by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to amend the country’s Consumer Act in order to strengthen the rights of consumers and protecting them from hazardous and substandard products.

Gatchalian made the call as consumer spending accelerates ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities, saying the Consumer Act of the Philippines, or Republic Act No. 7394, needs to be amended in order to enhance consumer protection and promote ethical standards in trade practices, which will consequently improve market outcomes for the country’s 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,” Gatchalian said in filing Senate Bill No. 942 or the proposed Enhanced Consumer Act.

The senator said the bill seeks to include a mandatory English or Filipino translation of product labels written in foreign characters or languages before they are allowed to enter the country.

He said this would help authorities 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 measure also seeks to expand authority to close down establishments caught selling substandard and hazardous products.

The bill 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.

“Ang panukalang batas na ito ay naglalayon na lalo pang palakasin ang karapatan ng konsyumer sa bansa at isulong ang maayos na pamantayan ng kalakalan para sa buong ekonomiya (This bill aims to further strengthen consumer rights in the country and promote fair trade standards for the entire economy),” Gatchalian said.

The bill also seeks to adopt policies that would take into account the eight basic consumer rights namely 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.

Aside from these, the measure also spells out the responsibilities that consumers need to exercise in accordance with the proposed law.

These include 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, according to the lawmaker.

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