Mandatory test on glass gets support

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    A consumer has asked the court to dismiss a petition filed by an importers group which sought to nullify a department order on mandatory testing of all glass products.

    In his motion to intervene dated Oct. 10, 2019, consumer advocate Rodolfo Javellana Jr. asked branch 141 of the regional trial court (RTC) of Makati City to dismiss “for utter lack of merit” the May 3, 2019 petition for injunction and declaratory relief filed by the Philippine Chamber of Glass and Aluminum Industries (PCGAI) against the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) involving the implementation of Department Administrative Order (DAO) 19-05.

    DAO 19-05 relisted flat glass in the roster of products for mandatory testing effective April 22 but its implementation was cut short when the Makati RTC last August 9 granted the group’s petition for preliminary injunction.

    Javellana, currently president of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters and of Water for All Refund Movement and secretary-general of the GREEN DREAM-Luntiang Pangarap also sought for other just and equitable reliefs.

    Javellana’s counsel Jephte Daliva cited Section 1 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Court in asking the Makati RTC to grant his client’s motion to intervene and to admit his answer-in-intervention.

    The counsel said Javellana has actual and material interest in DAO 19-05 and legal interest in the matter of litigation and in the success of either parties in the case.

    “Considering that DAO 19-05 aims to strictly ensure the quality and or safety of glass products and hence protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard products and since the nullification of DAO 19-05 means the removal of consumer protection in regard to said trade malpractices and substantard glass products, respondent-intervenor-consumer will certainly gain in the event the validity of DAO 19-05 is upheld and lose in its nullification,” counsel said in the motion.

    Javellana’s counsel said the objective of DAO 19-05 is to ensure that glass products meet the specified quality and/or safety requirement/s as required under Philippine National Standards (PNS).

    The motion said petitioners PCGAI do not wish to comply with DAO 19-05.

    “What they (implicitly) insist on is for the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) to require local manufacturers to submit to the PS Licensing Scheme and thus ensure that the local manufacturers’ glass products meet the specified quality and/or safety requirement/s under the PNS. But they do not wish to impose the same requirement upon themselves. What they (implicitly) insist on is to remove the protection that the PNS and DAO 19-05 affords to consumers of flat glass,” the motion said.

    It added: “DAO 19-05 explicitly aims to ensure that flat glass products, whether manufactured locally or abroad, meet the safety and/or quality requirements under the PNS.”

    The motion added contrary to the claim of petitioners, the DTI/BPS has the authority to subject flat glass to mandatory product certification and foreign manufacturers of imported glass to PS licensing. That power, it said, is granted not by DAO 19-05 but by Republic Act No. 4109, the BPS Charter.

    The motion also noted the P20-million required capitalization set under the DAO on an importer is a reasonable requirement for mandatory certification, to ensure the protection of consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard products.

    “It is a measure to protect consumers from fly- by-night importers who might be here today and gone tomorrow with no recovery for the injured consumers,” it said.

    In asking importers of flat glass to secure a PS License, the DTI/BPS merely seeks to ensure that imported flat glass meets the safety and/or quality as required under the PNS, nothing more, the motion said.

    “Contrary to the claim of petitioners, it fosters rather than stifle the growth of industry while protecting the consumers. It levels the playing field, so to speak, and encourages competition as it requires both local and foreign manufacturers and importers to submit to the same PS Licensing Scheme,” it added.

    The motion also described as misplaced the argument raised by importers that the DAO was promulgated in violation of the prescribed procedure that requires consultation with the private sector.

    The requirement of consultation, it said, was not necessary since DTI-BPS merely adopted existing government domestic product quality and safety.

    The motion said petitioners’ claim that there is no justification for re- subjecting flat glass to mandatory certification is “incomprehensible.”

    “It is misleading to aver that the delisting of flat glass… is due to the finding of the DTI that it is non life- threatening or critical,” the motion read.

    The delisting in 2015 was intended as a “stop-gap” measure to facilitate and fast-track the processing of ICC applications.

    “Flat glass is more life-threatening than steel bars. It is fragile and breaks and can cut and cause death,” the motion said.