Voting 175-0, the House of Representatives on Monday, Nov. 29 passed on third and final reading the bill mandating local government units to put up Timbangan ng Bayan Centers (public weighing scale centers) in all public and private markets.
House Bill 3255 proposes to amend Republic Act No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumers Act of the Philippines” as it seeks added protection for buyers against fraudulent weighing scales used in markets, including markets or so-called tiangges”.
HB 3255 consolidated legislative proposals filed by Reps. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City); Lorna Silverio (3rd District, Bulacan); Tyrone Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) and Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin).
Vargas said the bill was endorsed for passage by the House Committee on Trade and Industry chaired by Navotas City Rep. John Reynaldo Tiangco.
The QC solon said HB 3255 will make available to the buying public an effective means of checking the accuracy of the weight and quantity of goods they bought. He said this measure will also discourage vendors from committing any dishonest or irregular acts.
Vargas explained that HB 3255 directs all local government units to establish a Timbangan ng Bayan Center in all public and private markets, including flea markets or so-called tiangges” which shall have accurate readings and may be utilized by consumers in determining the fairness and accuracy of the weights of goods they purchased.
Vargas, chairman of the House Committee on Social Services, said HB 3255 proposes to penalize any person who fraudulently alter, tamper, vandalize or destroy any scale, balance Timbangan ng bayan, weight or measure after being officially sealed.
Under the HB 3255 weighing scales should be placed in publicly accessible locations and may be used free of charge by consumers who might want to verify the accuracy of the weight or measurement of the products they purchased.
Currently, prohibited acts provided under RA 7394 include the use of weighing scales and measures fraudulently altered after being officially sealed by government.
Any person found guilty of fraudulently giving the consumer short weight or measure in the making of scale will also be punished.
HB 3255 increased the penalties for violations of the law from P500 to not less than P50,000 to not more than P300,000. Convicted individuals may also be liable to a prison term of one year to not more than five years.
Vargas underscored the need to ensure quality standards in the sale and transaction of consumer products, saying that the bill will help ensure that consumers are being given their money’s worth.
Silverio said the bill seeks to “promote and encourage fair, honest and equitable relations among parties in consumer transactions and protect the consuming public against deceptive and unfair sales acts and practices.
On the other hand, Romualdo recalled that a similar bill has been “extensively tackled” by the trade and industry panel and that it had been passed on third reading during the previous Congress.
“The objective of this bill is to provide the puying public an effective means of checking the accuracy of the weight and quantity of goods that they are buying while at the same time discourage dishonest vendors from committing any irregularity or unlawful act,” stated Romualdo.