House OKs Arroyo bill creating ‘Timbangan ng Bayan’ in all markets
MANILA, Philippines – The bill seeking to establish “Timbangan ng Bayan” centers in all publicly-and privately-run markets nationwide was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, August 29.
Lawmakers voted 199-0-0 to approve on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 7857, which was principally authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, an economist who once served as trade assistant secretary, before she entered politics.
If passed into law, HB 7857 would add a new Article 62-A to Republic Act 7384 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, requiring all local government units to put up Timbangan ng Bayan centers in all markets, including flea markets or tiangges.
Consumers themselves would be able to weigh the products to verify their quantity before purchasing them.
A market supervisor would be tasked with the safekeeping and maintenance of these weighing instruments, as well as keeping a record of every product found in the market.
What would be the penalties? HB 7857 penalizes the tampering, vandalizing, and destruction of any weighing instrument at the Timbangan ng Bayan.
Violators stand to be fined between P50,000 and P300,000 or be imprisoned for not less than one year but not more than 5 years. The court would also have the discretion to impose both a fine and jail time.
Other prohibited acts under HB 7857 include:
- For any person other than the official sealer or his or her duly authorized representative to attach an official tag indicating a weighing instrument has officially been tested, calibrated, sealed, or inspected
- For any person other than the official sealer or his or her duly authorized representative to imitate such an official tag
- For any person other than the official sealer or his or her duly authorized representative to alter in any way the certificate indicating the official sealer’s acknowledgement that an instrument has been fully tested, calibrated, sealed, or inspected
- For any person to knowingly sell or use fake tags, certificates, or dye for printing to make it appear as if a weighing instrument has been officially tested, calibrated, sealed, or inspected
- For any person to use or reuse any restored, altered, expired, damaged stamp, tag certificate, or license to make it appear as if the instrument has been officially tested, calibrated, sealed, or inspected