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Consumer groups want party-list representation in 2016 elections

Consumer groups want representation in the House of Representatives, but will have to wait until the 2016 elections to field their own party-list group. The Department of Trade and Industry said the creation of a party-list group was one of the main concerns raised by the groups in a recent regional consumer assembly held in Eastern Visayas. The DTI also said that the party-list group to be established will not be able to join the 2013 elections since the deadline of submission of manifestation of intent to participate to the Commission of Elections ended in March. According to the consumer groups, the creation of a party-list organization dedicated for consumer affairs will be the first step in giving voice to consumers through representation in the Lower House. They also pushed for the establishment of consumer welfare desks in local government units to address the complaints of consumers at the local level. The DTI said most of the consumer complaints raised during the assembly were issues on the import commodity clearance (ICC), stickers on appliances, non-provision of official receipts in stores, and cases of purchased defective products. At the event, the DTI urged consumers to be vigilant against substandard products, and to check if the products they want to buy are bearing ICC stickers. Surplus appliances are exempted from ICC or Philippine Seal (PS) marking because they are already used and their lifespans can no longer be determined. The department also advised the consumers to demand official receipts from the place of purchase. They should also report non-issuance of receipt to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The DTI said the issues and concerns raised in the regional levels will be presented and discussed during the National Consumer Congress next month. The regional assembly was attended by consumer organizations from the six provinces of Eastern Visayas, the youth sector, non-government organizations, local government units, and national government agencies. — BM, GMA News