Advocacy Chemical Safety Health and Safety Toxic Products Toxic Toys

Groups Laud Issuance of IRR for Toy and Game Safety Labeling Law Despite Lamentable Delay

10 May 2019, Quezon City. Consumer and environmental protection groups lauded the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of an important law requiring special labeling for toys and games to protect children against potential hazards to their health and safety.

After a long delay, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) finally promulgated the much-awaited IRR for Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.

In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition (an environmental protection group) and Laban Konsyumer Inc. (a consumer protection group) welcomed the issuance of the IRR, but expressed dissatisfaction over the lamentable delay in getting it done and published.

To be exact, it took the government 2,074 days to complete the IRR from the day it was signed on September 3, 2013 by then President Benigno Aquino III, and another 109 days to get the IRR published on May 9, 2019 after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez signed it on January 20, 2019.

To compel the DOH and DTI to promulgate the delayed IRR, the EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer Inc., joined by 20 mothers as co-petitioners, had to file a petition for a Writ of Mandamus at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last October 23, 2018.

“We have waited for the issuance of RA 10620’s IRR for over five years — but better late than never. The effective enforcement of the IRR will help toy purchasers in picking age-appropriate, well-made and safe toys that can enhance children’s growth and development during their formative years,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

For his part, Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer Inc. urged the toy industry to ensure active compliance to the law. “We call on the private sectors to comply with the law for the safety of all children,” he said.

Atty. Gregorio Rafael Bueta, counsel for the petitioners, stated that “the issuance of the IRR is a welcome boost for the protection and promotion of the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology, and for the consumer’s rights to safe and quality products. The real challenge is for the enforcement and full implementation of the law – which requires the vigilance and cooperation of consumers and businesses alike.”

Atty. Bueta also said that: “While we welcome the issuance of the IRR, our government officials must not wait more than five years to fully implement a law. We hope that they will act with more haste for other laws in the future, especially for matters which concern people’s basic rights.”

A study on toy safety conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition with IPEN (a global NGO network for a toxics-free future) in 2018 revealed, among other things, rampant mislabeling of toys sold in the domestic market.

Of the 100 toy samples bought and analyzed, 77 percent provided no labeling information about their manufacturers and/or distributors, 75 percent had no license to operate (LTO) number, 75 percent failed to comply with other required information on the packaging, and 29 percent displayed no warning information on potential hazards.

Some of the toy samples examined by the group pose burn, chemical, choking, eye injury, laceration and strangulation risks, thus the need for strict safety evaluation and labeling.

With the promulgation of the IRR, both the EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer Inc. expect DOH and DTI to go full blast in popularizing the labeling requirements for toys and in promoting industry compliance.

Both groups vowed to assist the government in ensuring that RA 10620 is effectively enforced for the benefit and safety of all Filipino children.

Violators of RA 10620 and its IRR shall be subject to a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000, or imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.