Consumer group asks court to junk petition vs glass standards

Published October 20, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

A consumer advocacy group has asked the court to junk a petition filed by the Philippine Chamber of Glass and Aluminum Industries, Inc., a group of glass fabricators and importers, seeking to nullify Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19-05 of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that imposes strict safety and standards on glass products.

The petition filed on October 16, 2019 has asked the Regional Trial Court in Makati to grant the motion of Rodolfo B. Javellana Jr., president of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC), as an intervenor in the pending case filed on May 3, 2019 by the importers/fabricators’ group against DAO 19-05.
Javellana is also president of Water for All-Refund Movement and Secretary-General of Green Dream-Luntiang Pangarap.

Through his counsel, Javellana also asked the court to admit the “Answer-in-Intervention” he submitted to respond to issues raised by the Philippine Chamber of Glass and Aluminum Industries against the DAO.

Following his arguments, Javellana concluded with a prayer that the court “dismiss the petition” by the glass chamber for “utter lack of merit.”

In the filing, Javellana defended the DTI’s DAO 19-05 stressing the technical regulation aims “to strictly ensure that glass products meet the specified quality and or safety requirements as required under Philippine National Standards.”

He stressed that the DAO 19-05 was also issued pursuant to Section 9 Article XVI of the Constitution which states that “The State shall protect consumers form trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products,” and RA No.
73941, which declares “the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumer, promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry.”

Javellana further denied specific claims made by the petitioner. These include that the DAO 19-05 is unconstitutional and violates existing laws; the DAO merely purports to “strictly ensure that glass products meet the specified quality and/or safety requirements as required under the Philippines National Standards (PNS)”; that the order was misleading and conclusory; that the order is unreasonable and subjects other glass products to mandatory burdensome certification; that the DTI lacks the authority to impose the P20 million capital requirement for glass importers; and, that the issuance of the DAO violated procedural due process and non-compliance with the publication requirements.

In gist, Javellana said the petitioner against the DTI’s order to impose strict standards compliance on glass products just “do not wish to protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard products.”

He said that glass importers implicitly insist for the DTI and Bureau of Product Standards to require local manufacturers to submit to the Philippine Standard Licensing Scheme to ensure that local manufacturers’ glass products meet the specified quality and safety under the PNS, but “they do not wish to impose the same requirement upon themselves.”

In addition, Javellana said that importers’ opposition implicitly insists to “remove the protection that the PNS and DAO 19-05 afford to consumers of flat glass.”