AWARENESS ON CONSUMERS RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN NORTHERN PHILIPPINES
Everyone needs to know our rights and responsibilities as a consumer. There’s a saying that also goes this way: “Customer is always right. But as consumers, are we aware of our rights and responsibilities? With all laws enacted and implemented, The Philippine government always look for the welfare of its citizen for us to be more standardized and properly put it into order by proper monitoring and for the implementations of different government agencies. With this, The Department of Trade and Industry being one of the government agency has its mandate to serve as the primary coordinative, promotive, facilitative, and regulatory arm of the government for the country’s trade, industry, and investment activities. The agency looks into the protection of consumers by formulating, disseminating and monitoring consumers’ rights and responsibilities. The study focused on finding out the participants’ profile, awareness on their rights and responsibilities specifically on Northern Philippines. Moreover, the study considered the media sources of information on DTI consumer advocacy programs where the participants get such DTI information, the assessment of the usefulness of the DTI information materials as perceived by the participants and what national and local radio stations they get the information. To extract the needed information, these identified towns were actually visited to gather the data at the Province of Nueva Vizcaya namely; Kasibu, Solano, Kayapa, Bambang, Aritao, and Sta. Fe. Nueva Vizcaya is one of the provinces of the Cagayan Valley Region of Northern part of the Philippines. The study found out that many of the participant-consumers of Nueva Vizcaya do not have enough information about the programs being implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry such as rights and responsibilities. On their rights as consumers, many participants have knowledge on rights to basic needs, to safety, to healthy environment, to choice and consumer education but very few know their rights to representation and redress. Moreover, most are aware of their responsibilities on environmental awareness and social concern but not on solidarity, action and critical awareness. One significant findings of the study are that most consumers know the specific agency they can approach when there are problems on defective products and unsatisfactory services. Most participants are aware of refund as remedy to problems encountered while below 50% of participants are aware about replacement, repair and recall. On the source of information on DTI advocacy programs, many get information on television and radio; for radio, many of them listen to national and radio stations. Many participants get also information from the barangay captains (head of the barangay) and DTI staff while they get information from seminars/trainings. On the usefulness of DTI information materials consumer act, consumer guides and other relevant trade and industry laws, below 50% of the participant-consumers do not find the materials helpful. As a result, the DTI may strategize other ways to dissemination information pertaining to consumer rights and responsibilities and the specific agencies to approach when there are problems on defective products and unsatisfactory services. Further, the agency may design more information drive by advertising in social media sites, radio, television, and print media.
Consumer, Consumer Awareness, Consumer Rights, Consumer Responsibilities