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PIA Press Release

ConsumerNet 3 steps up consumer-related concerns

by Emma C. Tabalanza

San Fernando City, Pampanga (10 October) -- In the recent regular meeting of the Consumer Network in Region 3, the various agency-member representatives reported on their agency accomplishments relative to consumer concerns and welfare.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), according to Eriberta Tamoro, legal officer and acting administrative officer, opens a one-day mobile licensing and complaints desk every month in various malls in different provinces in Region III.

Tamoro said that through the one-stop shop of NTC, they were able to recover four (4) cell phones blocked by the agency after having been reported as snatched or lost by owners.

She also warned consumer net members on text scams, explaining that when the text message comes from 11 digit cellular phone numbers with a congratulatory message, informing one of having won a prize yet asking you to deposit a sum of money in the bank with accompanying account number, or requiring you to send a pre-paid phone load, then it is likely to be a scam.

She also advised that if one's cell phone is snatched, one should report it to the nearest police station, get a copy of the police report, then call or go to the NTC office so they can immediately block the number of the lost cell phone.

Melinda Hilario, Food and Drugs Regulation Officer III of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) under the DOH said that they had received reports on those who sell Vitamin C in different schools in the region. So the BFAD staff got samples of said Vitamin C which is due for testing by their laboratory. This is true for food products from China with suspected formalin content which had been tested by their agency.

Hilario added that in buying bottled mineral water, the consumer should always look for the BFAD license and registry number, expiration date, retailer's name and address.

Alejandra de Jesus of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) informed the group that their agency offers free assessment of those who want to apply for any vocational training and that they offer free training on cell phone repair every Saturday.

Charito Libut reported that the Department of Agriculture (DA) had established Barangay Food Terminals to have a direct linkage between suppliers of vegetables, meat and fish. She added that DA had provided food storage facilities to be used for "bagsakan" and that the agency will employ contractual workers to monitor the prices of commodities.

Jesili Reyes, information officer of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)

said that DOST has a Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory at the Capitol Compound to test products like food, water and other items.

Enrique D. Tacbad, chairman of Consumer Net 3 technical working group reported that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the region had received 65 consumer complaints from April to June 2007. Of these cases, 61 had been acted upon for adjudication while six (6) were endorsed to concerned agencies. Most of the complainants were buyers of brand new cars, Tacbad added.

He also said that the Consumer Net 3 organized a special task force on Bantay Presyo para sa Manggagawa to monitor and submit consolidated prevailing prizes of basic commodities per province which will be used as basis for a petition for wage increase. The task force is composed of the DTI, DOH, DA, the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Tacbad also announced that the Department of Education (Dep-Ed) will chair this year's celebration of the Consumer Welfare Month in October. (PIA-Pampanga) [top]

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