Leonard Flores, consumer welfare and business administration chief of DTI Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao.said the word stands for “sustained, upbeat, protected, empowered and responsible, which are qualities of an ideal consumer that the DTI has been trying to develop as part of its new consumer empowerment concept."
Flores said the concept mainly focuses on promoting proper awareness among local consumers on various consumer welfare and protection laws, product regulations and standards to help improve their implementation.
“Our goal is to enlist a core of well-informed, critical and responsible consumers and unite them to tame commercial and service entities that continue to violate various consumer welfare and protection laws and dupe our consumers through various illegal or unauthorized practices,” he said.
To become a “super consumer,” Flores said they have established at least seven norms that specifies strict adherence to consumer laws.
He said they should agree and comply with the provisions of the product standards law against buying substandard and uncertified products that are illegal, hazardous, dangerous and unsafe.
They should not purchase products or services without having the opportunity to know the price, quality, and benefits as provided for by the price tag and labeling laws and refrain from availing availing promotional sales that do not guarantee compliance to regulations under the sales promotion law.
In terms of the operations of service shops, he said consumers should not have their appliances, vehicles, and electronic gadgets repaired or checked by bogus repair shops and service centers as part of the implementation of the accreditation laws.
Flores said they should not patronize illegitimate business entities or those that have not complied with the provisions of the business name registration law and have not secured the required permits and licences from various local and national government agencies.
“It is also very important for our consumers to help the government identify and eventually punish the profiteers, hoarders, cartels, syndicates and other violators of the price act and fight for their own rights as consumers based on the provisions of the consumer act,” he said.
Flores said they introduced the concept in Region 12 to increase the “very low” level of awareness among consumers in the area. He cited the case of a local business establishment that they earlier closed down for allegedly selling counterfeit and sub-standard items but was able to re-open later under a new name because it was still patronized by some consumers.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan, Tacurong, and Cotabato.
Flores said they acknowledge that consumers are very powerful and they we want to use that power to compel local business establishments to follow the law.
“At the end of the day, it should be us, consumers, who should win. We should be the one's dictating these entities how they go about with their businesses and not them dictating us,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)