Watchdog Asks Poll Bets to Bare Plans to Protect Consumer Rights

A watchdog group for consumer safety and environmental
health exhorted candidates for the May 9 polls to disclose to the electorate
what they plan to do to protect the rights of every Juan and Juana de la Cruz
as consumers.
As the World Consumer Rights Day is observed today, March
15, the EcoWaste Coalition pressed all political aspirants to come up with a “Consumer
Protection Agenda” that will address the key needs of Filipino consumers.
“We expect those running for public elective positions to
instigate measures that will advance the eight basic rights of consumers,
especially the deprived and the poor,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition, a member of the Green Thumb Coalition.
These rights, as articulated by global consumer movement,
include the right to the satisfaction of basic needs, the right to safety, the right
to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, the
right to redress, the right to consumer education and the
right to a healthy environment.
Zeroing on the right to a healthy environment, the group
expressed its hope that poll candidates will come on strong in asserting the citizens’
right to clean air, safe water, renewable energy sources,
and waste-free, toxic-free ecosystems.
“We also hope that those running for Congressional or
Senate seats will support amendments to strengthen the Consumer Act of the Philippines,
as well as file other bills to localize the United
Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP),”
Lucero said.
“Stronger consumer protection laws will prevent market
abuse, ensure  fair play and justice, and
safeguard the public health and the environment,” she said. 
Like the Department of Trade and Industry, the EcoWaste
Coalition welcomed the adoption by the UN General Assembly last December 2015
of the revised UNGCP, which among other things, acknowledged “access to  essential goods and services, and the
protection of vulnerable and  disadvantaged consumers as new consumer
legitimate needs.”
According to Consumers International, “adequate consumer
protection  can directly support the
achievement of UN Sustainable Development  Goals relating to ending hunger and improving
nutrition by supporting  access to safe,
affordable and healthy diets; to health and well-being  by protecting consumers from unsafe products
that cause illness or  injury and
expanding access to effective pharmaceuticals.”