DTI asked: Go after traders behind mislabeling

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    A CONSUMER group is challenging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to go after erring traders who are passing off imported products as Philippine made, if it really intends to revive local businesses affected by the pandemic.

    “Warning unscrupulous businessmen who are behind mislabeling activities is not enough,” said Lokal Muna-Consumer Protection Watch, a group pushing for the welfare not only of consumers but also of local industries and Filipino workers.

    “Putting one or all of them behind bars for mislabeling will send a strong signal that the DTI is indeed serious in its push to prioritize local products and help the economy recover from the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19),” it added.

    The group said local industries do not stand a chance if imported products being sold as local goods — such as rice, chicken, and cement and other construction materials — continue to flood the market.

    The DTI earlier warned erring businessmen who will capitalize on the government’s “buy local” campaign through mislabeling they face jail time and fines.

    Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines punishes mislabeling with imprisonment of up to two years and fine, or both. Violators may also be charged for deceptive sales acts and practices, punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.