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Saturday, November 26, 2011

DTI Apprehends Sellers of Uncertified Christmas Lights; Alerts Consumers against Fake ICC Marks

Secretary Domingo was accompanied by DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, DTI-NCR Assistant Regional Director Ferdinand Manfoste, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Director Nazarita Tacandong, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Security Enforcement Service head Col. Lito Santiago, City of Manila Administrator Jesus Mari Marzan, Chief of Staff Ricardo de Guzman, and operatives from Manila Police District (MPD) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

The inspection team has issued notice of violation to five stores selling alleged substandard Christmas lights, and not following the guidelines on the use of Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) stickers. The team also confiscated the products for further inspection.

During the visit, the first store subject for inspection presented an ICC Clearance from the manufacturer. However, the team found out that the Christmas lights in display did not have ICC marks, and a bundle of certain ICC stickers were kept instead. The owners claimed that they bought the Christmas lights from a supplier certified by DTI and provided a separate bundle of certain ICC stickers for their products. Secretary Domingo said Christmas lights should bear ICC marks once it passed the tests conducted by DTI. Suppliers with BPS-Certified Christmas lights are the only ones allowed putting ICC stickers to their products.

Usec. Maglaya ordered the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) and DTI-National Capital Region to verify the authenticity of suspected ICC marks and identify the suppliers of the seized Christmas lights. DTI-NCR told that the retailers and suppliers are subject to investigation to find out if they sell substandard Christmas lights in the market.

In another store, DTI team discovered substandard Christmas lights with very thin electrical wires and has a printed ICC mark in the package, a violation of DTI rule on the use of ICC marks. Secretary Domingo urged the public to buy only Christmas lights certified by the DTI and look for the genuine ICC mark in the product.

Secretary Gregory Domingo warned that use of substandard Christmas lights poses a danger to the consumers as it may cause fires and electrical shocks due to its inferior features.

DTI will file charges against violators and confiscate the substandard Christmas lights for destruction. The consumers can also act against substandard Christmas lights.

Usec Zeny Maglaya advised that they can return the defective Christmas lights and ask for refund of their money. Consumers who also purchased uncertified Christmas lights were recommended to report it to nearest DTI office or call DTI Hotline 751-3330.

With fake ICC marks prevailing in the market, Secretary Domingo emphasized that genuine ICC marks are not pre-printed in the packaging of the product, and is unique from the fake and old ICC marks. He described a genuine ICC mark as a foil-like sticker, has the ICC seal with the serial number and the year of certification printed just below it and hologram features that changes color when exposed to certain direction of light.

Its design and features are revised every 3 years to deter tricksters from counterfeiting the ICC mark. Consumers were also advised that they should only buy Christmas lights with genuine ICC mark issued on year 2009 onwards. Products with ICC marks issued before 2009 might have deteriorated in quality and are not safe for use.

To guide the public in buying Christmas light, DTI issued posters on the list of Christmas light brands and guidelines in buying Christmas lights and identifying genuine and fake ICC marks. These posters will be put up in retail outlets, hardware stores, department stores, particularly in establishments selling Christmas lights.

DTI also assisted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in inspecting children’s toys in the market. Director Nazarita Tacandong checked the toys displayed in a store also inside Tutuban Mall and got some toy samples to be tested for toxic substances. The results of the laboratory tests will be released after three days. Reden Miranda, DTI

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