Press Release
January 6, 2015

Stronger Consumer Act to Empower Citizens - Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino stressed the importance of adding more teeth to the Consumer Act, saying it will empower and protect citizens more against substandard goods and services.

"Strengthening the Consumer Act will further empower our citizens in their purchase of goods and services," said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino made the pronouncement after the Department of Trade and Industry's call to beef up Republic Act (RA) 7394, also known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

"Our consumers have worked hard to earn a living and they deserve to get value for their money," Aquino added.

The senator said his committee will act immediately when it receives a draft bill from the DTI that contains the needed amendments for the Consumer Act.

"This must not wait because consumer protection is paramount and should be prioritized," the senator stressed.

Aquino's office has been deluged with different consumer complaints, ranging from substandard quality of products and inefficient service.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba said the agency will push several amendments that will give more teeth to the Consumer Act.

Among the amendments eyed by DTI is the inclusion of heavier fines for violators of the Consumer Act, from the existing minimum penalty of P500 to P50,000, to P300,000 to P1 million.

The DTI also wants to expand the membership of the private-public National Consumer Affairs Council to make it more effective in policy framing and addressing the needs of consumers.

Also, the DTI also wants to include online commerce-related practices in the scope of the law and the regulatory duty of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) over all financial transactions.

The Senate recently passed its first pro-consumer measure in the 16th Congress - the Philippine Lemon Law - which protect car buyers from defective vehicles, was sponsored by Aquino.

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