San Fernando City, La Union- As the Holiday season approaches, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 1 (DTI R1) reminded the public to be more vigilant against buying substandard or uncertified products, especially Christmas lights. DTI is the lead agency that regulates the sale of Christmas lights to protect the buying public from the hazards of substandard or uncertified products like overheating that may lead to fire, damages to property and even loss of lives.

DTI will be conducting monitoring and inspections to business establishments including “tiangges” to ensure that only certified products will be sold to the consumers. The inspection will include the display and storage rooms of the establishments.

One easy way to determine if the product passed the quality standard is the presence of Philippine Standard (PS) mark if it is locally made, or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) if it is imported. These stickers come with unique serial numbers and hologram prints. However, DTI reminded the public to double check the authenticity of the stickers as previous reports have shown the proliferation of fake stickers. To be sure, the public is advised to check the packaging label if it bears the name of the manufacturer, distributor and trademark. Moreover, the buyer has to verify if the product wirings and sockets is up to the standards. Warranties including return or exchange of defective products are valid for at least 60 days after purchase.

The public is encouraged to report to DTI erring or non-compliant stores. Based on the Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, establishments are mandated to secure PS and ICC for appliances and electrical products including Christmas lights. Violators will face formal charges and penalties that ranges from P25, 000 to P300, 000 depending on the degree of offense.Regional Director Florante O. Leal urged the public not to patronize products that are cheap but of low quality and substandard as these may pose risk to their safety and welfare.

Through regular monitoring and enforcement operation, DTI Region 1 has confiscated almost a thousand of substandard products last 2016. These items were destroyed after the conducted investigation.

Meanwhile, supply and prices of Noche Buena products remain stable according to the suppliers and manufacturers. DTI is scheduled to post the updated Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of these products by November 2017.♦

True to its thrust to propel micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) towards innovative and competitive business environment, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 1 in partnership with Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) launched the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) - Ilocos Sur Leg at Vitalis Villas, Santiago, Ilocos Sur on August 4, 2017.

The KMME Program is part of the Negosyo- Kapatid Project that aims to help MSMEs scale up and become globally competitive enterprises through coaching and mentoring sessions.

In her message, DTI-Regional Operations Group Assistant Secretary Blesila Lantayona emphasized the role of MSMEs in fueling the economic growth of the country, while also highlighting the importance of mentoring towards the attainment of economic progress driven by empowered MSMEs.

Kapatid Mentor Me Ilocos Sur 2017
Group photo at the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) - Ilocos Sur Leg Launch.

Some 300 MSMEs, partner government and non-government agency representatives from the province attended the launching to show support towards MSME development.

Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship accredited shared their expertise on Entrepreneurial Mind Setting, Business Values Formation and Marketing. Local accredited mentors who will be handling the succeeding mentoring sessions were also present.

Local successful entrepreneurs were guests during the inspirational forum and imparted success stories and experiences to motivate fellow entrepreneurs in seeking more business development opportunities.

The KMME program is in line with the Duterte Administration’s agenda of advancing MSMEs in the country by bringin together experts and industry leaders to provide free mentoring sessions.

The program will also allow mentees to learn strategies on marketing, financial, human resource and operation management among others during the 11-week module-based sessions.

On the 12th week of the program, mentees are required to present their business development plans before their graduation from the program. They are expected to become confident entrepreneurs with the right mindset and business-knowhow that will be able to sustain and scale up their enterprises.

Mentees were chosen in accordance with the prescribed criteria and only be limited to a minimum number of 20 and maximum of 25. Qualified mentees are business owners or managers of an enterprise with an asset of three million and below and operational for at least a year.

Ilocos Sur is the third province in the Ilocos Region to launch the Kapatid Mentor Me Program. La Union launched last May and has already produced 25 KMME graduates last July. Meanwhile, the 26 mentees from Pangasinan KMME who started with their sessions last June is almost halfway in finishing the program. The province of Ilocos Norte is scheduled to roll-out the same program next month.

DTI Region 1 Director Florante Leal described the KMME program as a “big brother-small brother” concept, adding that the program is a “perfect tool to motivate the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ilocanos and Pangasinenses.”

The Department of Trade and Industry Region 1 continues to foster business growth and development as it launched its 28th Negosyo Center in the region.

Negosyo Center Bolinao Opening

DTI Regional Director Florante O. Leal together with DTI Pangasinan Director Peter O. Mangabat, Bolinao Mayor Alfonse Celeste, PANGASINAN MSMED Chairman Howard Chua Cham, Ms. Natalia Dalaten and other Bolinao LGU staff during ng Negosyo Center Launching.

During the launching at the Municipal Hall last March 30, 2017, DTI Regional Director Florante O. Leal said the municipality of Bolinao has a big business development opportunity because of the flourishing tourism industry in the area.

“One of the goal of the Negosyo Center is to bring National Government services closer to the people. Aside from the Ease in Doing Business, Negosyo Centers aim to encourage would-be entrepreneurs to start their business and thereby create employment opportunities”, Leal said.

The Negosyo Center aims to ease the process in doing business by providing the following basic services such as business registration assistance; business advisory services; business information and advocacy; and monitoring and evaluation of business-process improvement.

Establishment of Negosyo Centers is in line with the enactment of Republic Act No. 10644, also known as the Go Negosyo Act, a policy to foster national development, promote inclusive growth an reduce poverty by encouraging the establishment of micro, small and medium (MSMEs).

This is the 8th Negosyo Center established in Pangasinan, other Negosyo Centers in the province are located at Dagupan and Alaminos City and municipalities of Lingayen, Rosales, Mangaldan, Bayambang and Tayug. Additional Negosyo Centers are targeted to be put up at Eastern Pangasinan this year.

True to its thrust to propel micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) toward innovative and competitive business environment, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 1 in partnership with Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) launched the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) at Hotel Marand, Bauang, La Union on May 8, 2017.

The Kapatid Mentor ME Program aims to assist MSMEs scale up and sustain their businesses through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship.

The Region 1 Kapatid Mentor Me Launch at Hotel Marand, Bauang, La Union on May 8, 2017.

Some 200 MSMEs from La Union attended the launching.

La Union is the first province in the region to roll-out the said program after its successful pilot run last March 8, 2017 in Samar. KMME will run in 89 areas in 16 regions throughout the country until the end of the year.

The 11-week program will have weekly modules such as Marketing, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Operations Management among others. On the 11th week, the mentee is required to present his/her business improvement plan, incorporating the learning from the lectures and mentoring sessions.

Other provinces in the region are scheduled to have the same activity; Pangasinan on June, Ilocos Sur on July and Ilocos Norte on October.

With 762 recognized consumer-friendly biz, DTI Region 1 ranked 1st in terms of having the most number of DTI Certified-Establishments (CE) nationwide. Now on its 10th year, the DTI-CE program or also known as the “Bagwis” aims to give due recognition to establishments that uphold the rights of consumers, practice responsible business and assures that consumers get best value for their money. The program also encourages the setting up of a sustainable Consumer Welfare Desk (CWD) or a DTI-recognized customer service counter that will provide information to consumers and serves as a mechanism for speedy resolution of consumer complaints.

DTI Region 1 tops Bagwis Awards 01

DTI Region 1 continue its efforts in empowering consumers and upholding the practice of good, honest and responsible business as it awarded anew 224 DTI-Certified Establishments (CE) or “Bagwis” Seal of Excellence Awards in the region for 2016: Pangasinan-129, La Union-42; Ilocos Sur-20; and Ilocos Norte-33. Awarding were done during the Consumer Welfare Month Celebration of the respective Provincial Offices.

The “Bagwis” Seal of Excellence represents the business establishments’ utmost support to empower consumers. “Bagwis” is another Filipino term for wings or feather that symbolizes the commitment to nurture, guide and protect consumers. Moreover, the readiness to fly in open and competitive market and provide higher quality service. Awards are categorized into gold, silver and bronze.

DTI Region 1 tops Bagwis Awards 02DTI Region 1 tops Bagwis Awards 03

October is the Consumer Welfare Month based on Proclamation number 1098 of 1997. Hence, DTI reiterates its commitment in reinforcing its services, programs and activities to protect the interests of the consumers. This year's theme -"Consumer Protection: A Shared Responsibility" advocates consumer protection as a shared responsibility among other government agencies, Local Government Units, private sectors and the general public. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is the agency chosen by the National Consumers Affairs Council (NCAC) to lead this year’s celebration.

Consumer Forums participated by consumer groups were also part of the celebration. Participants from different consumer groups came to enrich their knowledge on the 8 basic consumer rights; Right to basic needs; safety; information; choose representation; redress; consumer education; healthy environment.

“It is our mandate to empower and enhance the level of awareness of the consumers. We need to be vigilant, you (consumers) have the right to be protected but you also have the responsibility to help us, know your rights.” Director Florante O. Leal of DTI Region 1 said. ### JOYCE SEGUI, IO

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