The Senate approved on third and final reading the Timbangan ng Bayan Act which aims to institutionalize the establishment of “timbangan ng bayan” centers in public and private markets in the country.
With 23 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and no abstention, the Senate passed during its hybrid plenary session recently Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1241 or An Act Institutionalizing The Establishment of Timbangan ng Bayan Centers in Public and Private Markets, Amending For The Purpose Chapter II, Title III of Republic Act No. 7394 or The Consumer Act of the Philippines sponsored by Senator Koko Pimentel III.
SBN 1241 aims to mandate government-installed weighing scales in all private and public markets allowing consumers to check their purchases and ensure that they get what they paid for.
In a nutshell, SBN 1241 aims to mandate government-installed weighing scales in all private and public markets, including malls, supermarkets, wet markets, dry markets, in flea markets or “tiangges,” specialty stores, and grocery stores, allowing consumers to check their purchases and ensure that they get what they paid for.
The measure mandates the market or mall supervisor to maintain and safekeep the weighing and measuring instruments.
They are also given the responsibility to maintain a record of every product found to be lacking in quantity and substandard.
To exact accountability from dishonest traders, the bill shall likewise make Article 64 of the Consumer Act on Fraudulent Practices Relative to Weights and Measures applicable to Timbangan ng Bayan instruments.
SBN 1241 also penalizes the act of fraudulently altering, tampering, vandalizing or destroying the timbangan ng bayan after it is officially sealed.
For evidentiary purposes, a certification duly issued by the market or mall supervisor or his authorized representative shall be prima facie evidence of those prohibited acts.
Lastly, penalties for the violation of provisions under the Consumer Act are increased, with two successive violations automatically resulting in the cancellation of the business permit of the erring individual or business establishment.
“Even during this pandemic when every peso counts, the buying public is still being defrauded by some unscrupulous people who seek to improve their profit margins through dishonest means.”
“Even during this pandemic when every peso counts, the buying public is still being defrauded by some unscrupulous people who seek to improve their profit margins through dishonest means,” Pimentel said.
“The proposed Timbangan ng Bayan Centers endeavors to protect Filipino consumers against the use of inaccurate weighing scales, which is considered as one of the most pervasive frauds committed in the marketplace,” the veteran legislator stressed.