Consumer tips plus more

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By Art Tibaldo

Consumer Atbp.

Monday, April 21, 2014


IN WHATEVER you do, always consider safety first. Be Safe with your LPG Tanks - The LPG is considered as one of the major causes of fire.

Don't be the next victim by observing the following safety tips with your LPG tanks: Do not buy dilapidated or corroded LPG tanks as these tend to weaken as time passes, allowing leakage of gas, your dealer should be responsible in maintaining the quality of its tanks. Buy only certified LPG tanks with the proper markings such as the PS safety mark. Do not buy from unauthorized LPG Dealers who sell illegally refilled cylinders.

Be sure to buy the exact amount of LPG - Some LPG tanks are under filled by unscrupulous businessmen. The household LPG tanks usually contain 11 kg gas.

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Be ready to check what you are buying with the following simple steps: Buy LPG from dealers with readily available weighing scales. Weigh the filled LPG tank considering the tare weight, (or TW) found on the tank. Total weight minus the TW should equal 11 kg.

While the DTI looks into the content weight, safety and quality of LPG tanks, the Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) also looks into the quality and price of the liquefied petroleum gas.

When buying refrigerators, always look for the unit with a Yellow label. The yellow label contains all the information regarding the refrigerator being purchased. Important markings and information are the PS Quality Mark or ICC Sticker, energy consumption in kWH, and the Energy Efficiency Factor (EEF).

The EEF tells you that the refrigerator/freezer has passed DTI inspection and evaluation. The higher the EEF, the lower is the operating cost.

When buying Compact Fluorescent Lamps or CFL, look for the Yellow label. The yellow label contains all the information regarding the lamp being purchased. Important markings and information are the PS Quality Mark or ICC Sticker, lighting output in Lumens, power consumption in WATTS, the average life in hours, and the Efficacy in Lumens per WATT. The higher the Efficacy means more energy savings.

For consumers with specific and particular issues and concerns that they want to refer to the proper government office, I suggest that they go direct to the agency concerned for appropriate intervention and faster results. For telecommunication and telephone matters, mobile phones, TV and radio broadcast, concerned individuals can check with the office of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

For adulterated livestock feeds, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and biologics, bloggers can Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)-Animal Feed Standard Division and Laboratory Services. Same goes to pet animals. For fertilizer and pesticide related matters, the Department of Agriculture-Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority should be consulted and the National Food Authority (NFA) for rice. For concerns relating to processed and unprocessed meat and dressed chicken, it is the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) of the Department of Agriculture that has full authority for its inspection.
For fruits and vegetables, it is the Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI), an attached bureau of DA that has jurisdiction over it and for prices of coconut oil, husked nuts, fresh young coconuts and quality standards of coconut-based products, the right agency for these is the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

On matters pertaining to electricity, it is the Energy Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB), Department of Energy-Consumer Welfare and Promotion Office (DOE-CWPO) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that has full jurisdiction on it but since these offices are mostly located at the National Capital Region, one can check with the local service provider especially on matters needing immediate action.

If you encounter questionable and threatening forest-based products, do not hesitate to notify the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Unregulated use and improper release and disposal of Ozone-depleting substances such as refrigerants and Freon by repair shops is unlawful.

On personal matters, such as educational, pension and memorial plans, there is an Insurance Commission (IC) that looks after the legitimate practices of establishments engaged in life and non-life insurance claim and pre-need plans. Mutual investment funds, financing and lending institutions and other registered issuers of securities can be verified with the office of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if one is in doubt of their legitimacy. For bank follow-up and claims for insured deposit and other bank related issues and concerns including un-serviced withdrawals and ATM problems, the matter can be referred to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.(PDIC) if client finds inconsistencies with the business transaction.

For manufactured products that are deemed defective, malfunctioning and unserviceable, the consumer can check with any of the provincial offices of the Department of Trade and Industry for appropriate action.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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