Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare Adrian Cristobal Jr. declared the other day that he “will take steps to order the removal of products from the market once we have established the clear connection between asbestos-containing products with lung cancer and asbestosis.”
Speaking at the Balangkasan Forum of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Cristobal (whose speech was delivered by Bureau of Product Standards Director Jesus Motoomull) also said that, “in the interest of consumer protection,” he would authorize an investigation into information that the asbestos substance is being imported in big quantities by local companies.
Such importation, he said, “increases the risk of exposure to the toxic substance.”
The UAP Balangkasan Forum, with the theme “Ensuring an Asbestos-Free Environment,” was organized “to provide architects full information on the health hazards posed by ACMs,” according to Armin B. Sarthou, UAP national executive vice president.
Michael V. Tomeldan, Balangkasan chairman, said the forum gave the UAP the “opportunity to note existing laws and regulations and to determine whether these provide adequate protection for the health and safety of Filipinos.”
At the open forum, BPS Director Motoomull pledged that the Bureau “would go as far as product recall if the harmful effects of asbestos- containing materials (ACMs) are proven … because nothing can be as costly as destroying human life. Human life is irreplaceable.”
Motoomull cited the need for a “a legislative agenda defining the requirements for the use of these products if only to ensure our consumer’s safety and protection.”
Motoomull joined former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. and John Balass, president of James Hardie Philippines, as principal discussants at the forum. – Philippine Star