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PIA Press Release

DTI Bohol dared to revisit malls

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (27 October) -- EVER had the feeling you are getting yourself into a Divisoria experience with all the vendors ganging up on you even when you are in a Bohol mall? Then you would be "intimidated in a sense" that you are forced to buy. Forced selling, that is, is still a breach on your rights as a consumer and it should be reported to authorities.

On this, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional Director Asteria Caberte personally instructed the DTI provincial office to revisit the malls and see to it that questionable selling practices would not happen anew.

"I would like to have the local DTI revisit the malls to see if such thing still continues," she told her staff here.

The dare, which the Boholana regional trade head threw upon the shoulders of the local trade authorities was the highlighting point when Bohol celebrated one of the consumer month activities here at the Island City Mall recently.

According to Caberte, the DTI has already closed an establishment in the city upon noticing that it was engaged in spurious selling activities.

Taking a complaint raised by an unidentified consumer during a talk show on the consumer rights as a jump off point, Caberte said she has personally received such a complaint from a prominent Tagbilaran City family.

According to her, the family's matriarch fell prey to forced selling, a strategy employed by a stall inside a city mall.

By forced selling, it means a tactic where a mall stall's employees swoop down upon an unsuspecting customer, awarding her "prizes" which in the long run, turns out to be one that can be had if one buys their products.

She also added that the stall has sometime been closed due to similar spurious selling practice, which is anti-consumer.

At the talk show hosted by Raflyn Salutan and Melchor Daniel Jr., speaking as panelists were Caberte, another DTI regional office key officer and lawyer Josh Carol Ventura, an officer from the City Agriculture Office, Dep Ed's Dr. Erlinda Mahinay National Food Authority's Ma. Fe H. Evasco and Bureau of Food and Drug's Rica Aumentado.

In efforts to further expand the consumer awareness campaign this year, the DTI, along wioth consumer protection groups in the country breached the traditional information conduits to take on the more interactive way of sharing information.

This decision was also accordingly arrived at after a survey revealed that the traditional information campaign conducted by the government has not as much reached the intended audiences.

In response to this, information campaign shifted on to schools, said Dr. Erlinda Mahinay, who shared that the school curriculum has incorporated all the consumer rights and responsibilities.

More than that, the local authorities also coordinated the campaign sorties delivered in a new packaging, thus the talk show and school debates set for the week.

In her statement of purpose, DTI provincial director Elena Arbon said the activity forms part of the continuing education, which is now focused on the youth for effective consumerism based on the recurrent questions posed at the DTI.

Calling the new method as "town square discussions" she also calls for more interactive discussions to further spread the news about consumerism: its rights and responsibilities. (PIA) [top]

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