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Consumers' group asks court to lift injunction on DTI order regulating unsafe glass products

Consumers' group asks court to lift injunction on DTI order regulating unsafe glass products

MANILA, Philippines — A consumers’ group has asked a regional court to dismiss the petition seeking to nullify a Department of Trade and Industry’s administrative order against unsafe and substandard glass products.

In a 22-page answer-in-intervention, United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) President Rodolfo Javellana Jr. asked the Makati City regional trial court branch 237 to dismiss Philippine Chamber of Glass and Aluminum Industries Inc. (PCGAI) petition for lack of merit, and instead affirm the legality of the DTI Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19-05.

Javellana argued that the administrative order is a “necessary regulation consistent with the mandate of the DTI” as it “intends to protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.”

“As it appears, again, petitioners simply do not wish to comply with safety and quality standards under the PNS (Philippine National Standards),” the pleading read.

The UFCC leader also contested the claims of the petitioners that the DAO violates the constitutional requirement of due process and also imposes unreasonable requirements to industry stakeholders.

Javellana said that the DTI has notified and considered inputs and comments of the stakeholders. The department has also heard the position of affected sectors even when it was not required.

“Petitioners’ argument is misplaced. The requirement of consultation with the private sector under Article 7 of RA No. 7394 applies only in case of the absence of, and hence the need to formulate, existing government domestic product quality and safety standards. It does not apply to DAO 19-05 since it merely adopted existing government domestic product quality and safety standards. That is quite clear in the law,” he explained.

“At all events, notice and hearing are not even required in the issuance of DAO 19-05 because it was issued in the exercise of the DTI’s quasi-legislative or rule-making power. It is settled that notice and hearing are not essential when an administrative agency acts pursuant to its rule-making power, unless the law provides otherwise,” Javellana added.

Javellana further debunked claims that the department order violates equal protection clause under the Constitution, saying that it was wrong to differentiate flat glass from other kinds of glass under the order.

He explained that flat glass is not a “raw material” since it has also undergone processing like other glass products.

The DAO 19-05 is also not covered under the Ease of Doing Business Act and the Philippine Competition Act, Javellana said, as the petitioner claims that the department order violates the said laws.

Javellana asked the lower court to lift the preliminary injunction on DAO 19-05 and dismiss the petition of PCGAI, a group of flat glass importers.