Generics Law takes center stage in Consumers' Month celebration
By Alice Nicart
Borongan City (29 October) -- Another pro-poor program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took center stage here, with Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) annual observance of the Consumers' Month.
Joined by the Borongan City Consumers Affairs Council, (BCCAC) and Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFA), DTI checked around the city's drugstores to see for themselves if the "Generic Law" which provides the poor with low-priced medicines is being practiced. Generally, however, the visit turned out favorable.
Marilyn Docena, BFA representative reminded the public though, on air, over Radyo ng Bayan DYES that they should trust the generic drugs sold in the drugstores because they are as effective as the branded ones.
"Generic Drugs, Gawang Pinoy, Galing Pinoy, Tangkilikin natin" was this year's celebration's theme, from which anchored DTI's month-long activities.
A radio quiz anchored by Penpen Pomida was held over DYES where a question was thrown to the listeners: Explain what do you understand by the Generics Law? Six callers phoned in their answers and one Margarita Castillo of barangay TaboK answered: An Generic Drug, in aton produkto, pareho la an kalidad han branded, himo ha aton, habobo an presyo, dako an benepisyo. (The Generic Drug is our product, it has the same quality with the branded ones, these are manufactured locally and are low-priced but with bigger benefits for us). Castillo's answer won him an electric fan, while the rest of the callers received vitamins and medicines from BFA as consolation prizes.
Another set of question was thrown on air to test the listening public's awareness on their rights as consumers; the lady anchor questioned: Name at least three basic rights of a consumer, and presto! One, Isko Balanay of barangay Alang-alang called-in and answered: The right to safety, the right to information and the right to redress.
For her part, Mrs. Eleanor Alido, DTI Provincial Caretaker was amused at the high awareness level of the public in her area about the advocacy of her office. She again reminded the public to forego of the colonial mentality, when people used to prefer imported goods to locally produced products. She even recalled the melamine scare months ago, when imported milk and peanut butters were banned in the local market. In the same way, the DTI Provincial Chief advised the public to buy locally made products as in medicines.
"The Generic Act should not just be an option for us to buy, rather, it should be understood that both Generic and branded medicines have all the same quality; and as Filipinos, we have our own ingenuity which must be patronized by ourselves. ", the lady boss stressed.
The Consumers Month Celebration echoed in the entire locality. BCCAC and DTI earlier on made visitations around bakeries and grocery stores. Some were reprimanded of a few violations on price tags and overpricing.
Council's President and newly elected Regional Consumers' Group Vice President Jack Aspa warned the store owners about the revocation of their business permit next time around when caught with the same offense.
The Consumers' Division of Eastern Samar DTI has been manned by the equally competent Chief, Tonette Candido. (PIA-Eastern Samar) [top]