Creation of consumer welfare, protection council eyed

THE Baguio City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance creating a Consumer Welfare and Protection Council in the city.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. stated that the council shall recommend and implement the city’s programs for the effective and efficient promotion of protection, support and welfare of consumers.

The Baguio City Consumer Welfare and Protection Council shall be chaired by the City Mayor and co-chaired by the chairperson of the City Council Committee on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture who will also serve as the action officer, and the regional or provincial director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-CAR), City Administrator, City Treasurer, City Health Officer, City Legal Officer, City Veterinarian, City Schools Division Superintendent, City Permits and Licensing Officer, representatives of city-based consumer organizations to be chosen by the City Mayor from among the nominees submitted by various consumer groups and two representatives from the business sector to be chosen by the City Mayor from among the nominees as members.

The council shall plan and implement programs and activities to protect the welfare and interest of the consumers; plan and implement activities in support of the observance of the National Consumer and Protection Week; intensify the enforcement of the price tag and other fair trade laws; monitor prices of basic goods and prime commodities in the city; coordinate product distribution and price monitoring programs, projects and measures of the government; develop comprehensive strategies to ensure that prices of basic goods and prime commodities are stabilized and at affordable levels; prevent or prosecute any and all persons engaged in price manipulations and violations of authorized price ceilings, price tags laws and hoarding enlist the assistance of local and regional agencies, socio-civic organizations and the expertise of individuals; undertake a continuing information and education campaign and perform such other functions as may be prescribed by laws and ordinances and those that are necessary and incidental to the effective implementation of the measure.

The Baguio City Consumer Welfare and Protection Council, in consultation with the sectoral associations, shall draft the implementing rules and regulations for the purpose of enforcing the provisions contained in the measure within 6 months after the approval of the same.

The ordinance added that the local government shall allocate sufficient funds for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations in the implementation of the local legislative measure which shall be taken from the annual or supplemental budget of the city.

Upon the celebration of the new year, the ordinance stated that Republic Act (RA) 10963, otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, took effect with the aim to simply tax compliance and a vision to reduce the poverty rate by year 2020.

The TRAIN law imposes higher excise taxes on certain products such as petroleum, sweetened beverages, non-essential services and even cigarettes, thus, there is a need to create a group to spearhead and assist in the identification and assessment of consumer welfare programs that are sustainable, as well as other activities to develop a continuing information education campaign for consumers. (Dexter See)
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