Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said on Tuesday that the government is eying steeper fines for retailers selling shoddy and substandard goods; among these, electric lights for Christmas.
“I think we should raise penalty to over P1 million from P300,000,” Domingo said during a DTI activity in which the agency destroyed 10,344 sets of unlicensed Christmas lights seized since December 2013.
Currently, there are two laws and one DTI order which govern the sale of Christmas lights and impose fines on manufacturers and sellers which do not comply with the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) product certification policies.
The laws are the Consumer Act (Republic Act 7394) and the Standards Law (RA 4109), both of which mandate a maximum penalty of up to P300,000 on manufacturers, importers and retailers of Christmas lights that fail to meet BOS standards.
Aside from the penalty, manufacturers, importers and retailers also stand to lose their DTI-issued permit or license.
Meanwhile, lights that are confiscated will be destroyed by the DTI in compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
So far, the DTI has cancelled the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificates of the brands: Mabuhay Star, Lucky Deer, Ako and Seven Star.
The DTI advises the public to check the BPS portal www.bps.gov.ph to see the list of certified brands before purchasing Christmas lights. Furthermore, consumers may call the agency to report retailers selling substandard and uncertified Christmas lights.
Faulty Christmas lights have – over the years – been a leading cause of fires over the holiday season.