The lower chamber, voting viva voce, passed on Wednesday on second reading House Bill No. 7857, which seeks to amend the "Consumer Act of the Philippines" or Republic Act No. 7394. The bill is principally authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Under the bill, a "Timbangan ng Bayan Center" shall be established in public and private markets, including flea markets, where instruments for determining weights and measures shall be open and accessible to anyone who wants to accurately weigh and measure the products they purchase.
The bill provides that the safekeeping and maintenance of these instruments shall be under the control and supervision of the market supervisors.
The market supervisors shall keep a record of every product found to be underweight or substandard, and identify the erring establishment and its owner or manager.
The bill prohibits the alteration, tampering, vandalizing or destruction of a "Timbangan ng Bayan" and penalizes such acts with a fine of PHP50,000 to PHP300,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both, at the discretion of the court.