THE Senate has approved on third and final reading the “Timbangan ng Bayan” Act which aims to institutionalize the establishment of “timbangan ng bayan” centers in public and private markets in the country.

With 23 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and no abstention, the Senate passed during its hybrid plenary session Monday, January 17, 2022, Senate Bill (SBN) 1241, which seeks to amend the Consumer Act of the Philippines to establish “Timbangan ng Bayan Centers.”

SBN 1241 aims to mandate government-installed weighing scales in all private and public markets, including malls, supermarkets, wet markets, dry markets, flea markets or “tiangges,” specialty stores, and grocery stores, to allow consumers to check their purchases and ensure that they get what they paid for.

The measure mandates the market or mall supervisor to maintain and safe keep the weighing and measuring instruments. They are also given the responsibility to maintain a record of every product found to be lacking in quantity and substandard.

To exact accountability from dishonest traders, the bill shall likewise make Article 64 of the Consumer Act on Fraudulent Practices Relative to Weights and Measures applicable to Timbangan ng Bayan instruments.

SBN 1241 also penalizes the act of fraudulently altering, tampering, vandalizing or destroying the “timbangan ng bayan” after it is officially sealed.

Penalties for the violation of provisions under the Consumer Act are increased, with two successive violations automatically resulting in the cancellation of the business permit of the erring individual or business establishment.

The House of Representatives approved its version of the bill in August 2018. (with PR)