With the Christmas season, a public-interest advocacy group has called the government and the industry to be more mindful against hazardous goods, including children’s toys, gift items, and yuletide decorations.
The group EcoWaste Coalition, in line with the Consumer Welfare Month (CWM) this October, said the government should take responsibility in ensuring that the public is “protected against abuses and imbalances in the marketplace.”
“While protecting the consumer interest is indeed a shared responsibility, we believe that the government and the industry have the greater obligation of upholding the legally guaranteed rights of the Filipino consumer considering the powers and resources these two other pillars of consumer protection have,” said Thony Dizon, the chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.
This theme of this year’s CWM, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is “Consumer Protection: A Shared Responsibility.”
The group cited the handbook on ASEAN Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations that emphasizes consumer protection, aiming to protect and promote the well-being and/or financial interests of consumers.
“As the consumer right to safety is one of the frequently ignored rights during the holiday season, we urge the government and the industry to take extra steps to protect consumers against products that are hazardous to health, life or property,” Dizon said.
He also called the shoppers to be mindful of unsafe goods and to avoid the impulsive and reckless purchase of items that can put their safety at risk.
According to the group, “as consumers, we have the responsibility, among other things, to be more vigilant and inquisitive about the products and services we select and pay for, as well as our responsibility to be mindful of the environmental impacts of our consumption choices and what we throw away during this joyful season.”
The EcoWaste Coalition pointed out that unregulated toys may contain substances of concern like cadmium, lead and mercury, brominated flame retardants and phthalates, which can pose chemical hazards, especially to young children.
CWM is celebrated pursuant to Proclamation No. 1098 issued in 1997 by then President Fidel Ramos “to set aside a period during which concerted efforts for the assertion of consumer rights may be thoroughly discussed, planned and carried out.”