DTI prompts businesses to translate promotional materials in English, Filipino

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has reminded businesses that signages, billboards, advertisements, brochures, fliers, notices, advisories, labels, price tags/price lists, menus, receipts and other business/marketing materials in foreign languages should have English and/or Filipino translations.

The DTI issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19-09, series of 2019, last 21 June 2019, which mandates the primary use of Filipino and/or English in signages, billboards, advertisements, brochures, flyers, notices, advisories, labels, price tags/lists, menus, receipts, and other business marketing materials. Foreign languages are allowed, provided the same are translated to English and/or Filipino.

The DAO applies to all business entities and establishments engaged in the production, manufacture, distribution, supply or selling of consumer products or services in the Philippines, without prejudice to existing rules and regulations being implemented by the Department of Health – Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture, pursuant to the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

The DAO specifies that the translation into English or Filipino of the marketing paraphernalia of a business shall be as easily visible and legible as any foreign language also stated in the marketing paraphernalia. It also specifies that the use of Filipino language is not limited to Tagalog but also includes regional and provincial dialects.

DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo, emphasized, “Lack of translations in promotional materials written in foreign language or characters, is a deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales act. Through this DAO, we are strengthening the protection of consumers on their right to information to make wise purchase decisions.”

“The DTI reiterates the administrative sanctions for business establishments that are found to be in violation of any of the provisions of the DAO shall be imposed with penalties ranging from PHP1,000.00 up to P300,000.00 depending on the capitalization and frequency of offense,” Castelo added.

The said DAO provides that on the third offense, erring businesses shall face the cancellation of their business name certificate that was issued by the DTI, and revocation of business registration, permit, license, and any other regulatory clearances upon the recommendation of the Department to appropriate government agencies or units.

DTI-CPG’s Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) Director M. Marcus N. Valdez II, explained, “The DTI is closely working with the Ad Standards Council (ASC) and Out-of-Home Advertising Association of the Philippines (OHAAP) to ensure that advertisers and billboard operators are compliant with the requirements of DAO 19-09”.

The ASC and the OHAAP screen and regulate the content of promotional materials across all media to ensure that compliance with DAO 19-09 is strictly observed.

Undersecretary Castelo encourages consumers to report establishments, print materials, billboards, etc. that show foreign language or characters without any English and/or Filipino translation/s to [email protected] or through the DTI Consumer Care social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.