If incoming Trade Secretary Jesli Lapus had his way, gift certificates should have no expiry date and airlines should be stopped from implementing a no-refund policy on their promos.
Lapus said consumer protection would be one of his top concerns when he leads department for a short three-and-a-half-month term.
In his first interview with reporters after accepting the position left by outgoing Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Lapus said he had always been a consumer advocate even when he was a lawmaker in the House of Representatives.
He said it was illegal to put expiry dates on gift certificates because these were already paid for by the donor. He said this was one of the things that he would urgently attend to in the department.
Lapus said tackling consumer issues were important to promote efficiency and quality of products. “Because if consumers are ventilating their concerns, there will be pressure on the industry,” he said.
He said he would also review the factors entice investors to locate in the Philippines, especially after the country posted negative investments figures last year.
“Power is one of the big concerns. Power is one of the sticky issues here, especially the availability and cost,” he said. “We will review the private sector-government liaisons to see what we can do about this.”
Lapuz said he would re-introduce the Spanish language to the Philippines to enable Filipinos to compete with the Taiwanese, who were now manning call centers of some Spanish-speaking countries in the world. He said the Philippines should excel in the language after being under the Spanish rule for 377 years.
“Almost four thousand words in the Filipino language are Spanish but how come Taiwanese are manning Spanish-speaking call centers in some parts of the world?” he asked. “But we can’t do this tomorrow, we have to train first the teachers,” he said. –Julito G. Rada, Manila Standard Today