In an effort to strengthen coordination and partnership with its key stakeholders, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ad Standards Council (ASC), Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (DSAP), and Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers (Food Chamber).
The signing ceremony held on November 12, 2013 at the Board of Investments (BOI) in Makati City, institutionalizes the cooperation framework between the DTI and the aforementioned organizations, on addressing certain consumer-related issues and concerns such as false and misleading advertising, fraudulent sales promotions, pyramiding sales schemes, and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities during times of calamity.
Signatories of the MOU include Clint Navales, president of the ASC; Perry Mogar, chairman of the DSAP; Edita De Leon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers; and representing the DTI is Consumer Welfare Business Regulation Group (CWBRG) Officer-in-Charge lawyer Victorio Mario Dimagiba.
“The signing of these Memoranda of Understanding proves that the DTI gives much importance on involving the industry sector in safeguarding the interests of consumers,” Dimagiba said.
The MOU between the DTI and the ASC centers on the responsibilities of both parties in addressing consumer complaints related to advertisements. The DTI shall continue to perform its legal mandate under the Consumer Act of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 7394) while the ASC, as the self-regulating body of the advertising industry, shall resolve disputes involving its members.
On the DTI-DSAP partnership, the cooperation and coordination between the two is revitalized and reinforced through the MOU. It can be recalled that several years ago, during the prevalence of pyramiding sales schemes in the country, the DTI and DSAP jointly conducted a nationwide information campaign against such fraudulent acts. In this renewed MOU, the DTI and DSAP will once again conduct an anti-pyramiding campaign as well as coordinate in reviewing compensation plans of direct selling companies, and monitor and resolve consumer complaints related to pyramiding and chain distribution plans.
In the aspect of prices and supply of goods, the DTI institutionalized its partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities, especially during times of calamity and other similar occurrences that affect the pricing and flow of supply of commodities in the country.
Moreover, the Food Chamber will now be closely coordinating with the DTI Regional and Provincial Offices on the distribution of commodities in calamity-stricken areas, and Food Chamber member-companies will participate in the Diskwento Caravan program of the DTI where basic necessities and prime commodities are sold at discounted prices.
The signing of the DTI-Food Chamber MOU is very timely in light of recent events concerning the earthquake that hit the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, and super typhoon Yolanda that devastated parts of the Visayas region. Through this partnership, victims of these calamities are ensured that they will have access to sufficient supply of basic necessities and prime commodities sold at reasonable prices.
The DTI assures the consumers that the department, together with the ASC, DSAP and the Food Chamber, are committed to perform their respective duties and responsibilities specified under each MOU. Therefore, consumers can expect that through these partnerships, efficient mechanisms will be put in place to protect their rights and interests.
For more information on the partnerships of the DTI with the ASC, DSAP, Food Chamber and other industry associations, contact the DTI-BTRCP at 751-3233.