The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), supports the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury since it will instill protection to health and the environment. In consonance with the existing policy in RA 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, Chapter 1 of the Consumer Product Quality and Safety, which provides that the State shall protect the interests of the consumers, promote their general welfare and establish standards of conduct for business and industry, and, implement measures to achieve the protection against hazards to health and safety.

In support to the ratification, the DENR-EMB facilitates and coordinates the concurrence of other concerned Executive Departments including the Department of Trade and Industry. The DTI-BPS considering its mandate to develop standards (PNS), is primarily involved in the activities of the ratification. The DTI-BPS focuses its development on the PNS on the disclosure of mercury in specific products that will assist in minimizing if not, preventing the use of mercury in products and processes. The DTI-BPS works closely with the DENR in strengthening institutions and in improving national capacities to legislate mercury with a life cycle approach, while taking into consideration and utilizing the PNS developed.

DTI-Consumer Protection Group Assistant Secretary, concurrently the DTI-BPS Officerin-Charge, Atty Ernesto V. Perez underscores, “We recognize the significance of the convention. However, there are various industries using mercury that may need to be given ample time to phase-out mercury –containing products. Nevertheless, DTI-BPS commits to fulfill the objectives that are consistent with the mandates, competencies and processes of DTI.”

The Philippines, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Kumamoto, Japan in October 2013.

The Convention is a global, legally binding multilateral treaty to prevent emissions and releases of mercury through controls and reductions of its use across a range of products, processes and industries. It also addresses the direct mining of mercury, export and import of the metal and safe storage of waste mercury. Its key objective is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

These products include batteries, compact fluorescent lamps, switches and relays, soaps and cosmetics, thermometers, blood pressure devices, vaccines containing mercury and dental fillings which uses mercury amalgam. It also addresses the banning of new mercury mines, phase-out of existing ones, control measures on air emissions; and, the international regulation of the informal sector for artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

The DTI-BPS is the National Standards Body of the Philippines. It is the Philippines’ member to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

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