"Some products can harm consumers. Who will be responsible?"
Last week, someone posted on social media a meme lambasting an online selling portal for delivering to him a water meter instead of a wrist watch as he had ordered. Of course it was meant to be a joke. But then, the joke didn’t just emanate out of nowhere. The joke was a characterization of the feelings of the thousands who had been duped by the online selling portal.
Even I have fallen victim to the substandard or substituted products of these online portals. One time, I placed an order for a shirt; I really liked the design they were offering online. I was so disappointed when my order came. The material would not have passed for an election campaign shirt.
Not having learned my lesson yet, I again placed an order for a men’s wrist watch with a leather strap. To my surprise, I was sent a cheap ladies’ watch with a metal bracelet.
Anyway, it’s a good thing Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles has called on the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that that online shopping platforms exercise due diligence in allowing third-party merchants from selling electronic products as these could be dangerous to public safety.
Because of mounting complaints on fake electronic goods with questionable safety standards being sold online, Nograles said he will file a resolution to inquire on the efforts being done by the DTI, particularly the Bureau of Public Standards to ensure the quality and safety of the products being sold on various online selling platforms.
Nograles hopes that with this investigation, Congress can craft or amend a law that would regulate local online selling portals that allow third-party sellers such as Shopee, Lazada, Zalora, Carousell and many others because these are also possible sources of tax leakages.
Nograles hit the nail right on the head. While online shopping portals make life a lot easier for some people, there is also chance that some of their products can cause serious harm or even death.
Nograles said that BPS should exercise its mandate on these online selling portals and require them to demand appropriate certifications from their third party merchants before they are allowed to post their products.
“We have all heard about power banks and mobile phones exploding because of poor quality and workmanship and, in the process, someone gets hurt or the explosion caused a fire in the neighborhood. Who would take responsibility for allowing the sale of these products?” Nograles said.
Aside from the danger posed by these products sold without any regulated quality control, Nograles said that merchants might not be paying the necessary taxes and in the long run, could shrink the country’s tax base.
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Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza has every reason to be wary on the reimposition of the death penalty.
While it has not yet been proven to be a deterrent to crime, Atienza fears police scalawags might even exploit the hazard of the death penalty to commit “horrific abuses” against citizens.
Atienza says, and I believe him, that there are many corrupt officers everywhere. And even President Rodrigo Duterte supports this statement when at one point tagged the police as “rotten to the core” and reckoned that four out of every 10 officers are engaged in all sorts of criminal activities.
Thus, Atienza is apprehensive that once Congress revives the death penalty, “these police crooks will surely brandish the death penalty as the Sword of Damocles to hang over the heads of their potential victims of kidnapping, extortion and evidence-planting.”
“Abuses are guaranteed to inflame once twisted officers have the ‘deathtrap’ at their disposal. They will have a heyday shaking people down with false or fabricated evidence,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said.
Besides the kidnapping-for-extortion and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo by anti-narcotics agents, Atienza cited the case of a police officer in Manila who raped a 15-year-old girl in exchange for the freedom of her parents who were nabbed for alleged drug offenses.
To suppress illegal drug trafficking, Atienza urged the Duterte administration to first address rampant corruption at the Bureau of Customs.
Atienza believes that Customs corruption is the reason why billions of pesos worth of shabu in shipping containers continue to slip into our ports of entry and flood our streets.
Also, besides capturing, prosecuting and locking up big-time traffickers, the government should also target devious officers who are recycling back into the market illegal drugs seized from raids and arrests.
And while supporters of the administration dominate Congress,I think the lawmakers should really take time to listen to Atienza and position on the death penalty before even considering its reimposition.