How responsive and proactive are concerned government agencies and business institutions to the concerns of local consumers? How aware are local consumers of their rights and responsibilities? These are the main issues that the new radio program "Timbangan" will hope to address starting on October 19, 4:00-4:30 P.M. and every Tuesday, thereafter over station DYRD-AM.
Timbangan literally means weighing scale, and Consumer Watch Bohol, Inc. (CWBI), the organization behind the radio program, wants to utilize it to promote its advocacy towards the education and protection of local consumers and to provide an avenue where local business establishments and concerned government agencies can become more responsive and proactive to consumer concerns.
Timbangan incorporates a format wherein competent representatives of concerned government agencies and business establishments will be tapped as resource persons to discuss the scope of their respective mandates and their services, share the usual complaints of consumers that the agency usually deal with, and provide advise on how to deal with or avoid these usual setbacks. It also accepts phone-in questions or complaints from the listening public about the issues being discussed during the airing of the program.
CWBI is a Securities and Exchange Commission-registered non-stock, non-profit organization based in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. The organization is an outreach arm of the Holy Name University Alumni Association-Tagbilaran, Inc. It welcomes suggestions on what issues the listening public would like the program to tackle. It also accommodates complaints via text messages through its consumer watch hotline numbers 09272141611.
CWBI is calling on socially conscious people to join and support the organization’s advocacy. Donations for the sustainability of the program are most welcome. Fund donations may be channeled to Mrs. Marieta L. Corales, president of CWBI, or to Ms. Eury Gutierrez, director and secretary of the HNU Alumni and Job Placement Office of Holy Name University and CWBI, respectively.
The Community Outreach Committee within the Board of Directors of HNU Alumni Association, Inc. has started the ground works for the formal organization of a body that will help consumers protect themselves from fraudulent transactions, defective products, deceptive, unfair and unsatisfactory practices in the marketplace. The group has been meeting for the past months to discuss the merits of this advocacy whether this will impact the lives of the people in the community. The members contend that, since all of us are consumers, we will be able to benefit from this endeavor.
Atty. Raul Barbarona, chairman of the committee, has arranged for Atty. Rene Paredes, Chairman of the HNU Law Center, to attend the Board Meeting on June 20, 2008 in order to be able to present the framework of the consumer protection project with the goal of making said Law Center to commit its resources and collaborate with the HNU Alumni Association in support of this advocacy. It is anticipated that there will be problems in the future that need legal services; thus, the importance of this meeting held at the HNU Alumni Center.
The committee has realized the value of empowering the consumers by giving them ample information relative to their rights and obligations as well as knowing where to go in search for redress. Since HNU is an academic institution, the committee hopes, among other things, to be able to convince the academic community to include Consumer Protection as part of the curriculum ranging from the grade school level up to the secondary level.
Helping Atty. Barbarona in the Community Outreach Committee are Neneng L. Corales, Gloria Araneta, and Eurie Gutirrez. Even if the Consumer Body has not been formally launched yet, the HNU Alumni Board of Directors participated in the public hearing conducted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) regarding the petition of Bohol Light Company, Inc. to pass on to the electric consumers here in Tagbilaran the franchise taxes that it paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the City Government for the past five years with the intention of recovering them. So, if approved, this will undoubtedly raise the electric bill of each and every electric consumer here in Tagbilaraan. The Board led by the Vice President for Internal Affairs, Atty. Raul Barbarona, vehemently opposes this and stayed all throughout the proceedings that lasted the whole morning at the Governor's Mansion.
A first big step taken was the holding of a one-day workshop on consumer rights.
Attended by about 35 alumni, tis was held on November 8, 2008 at the Alumni Center. Mrs Josephine Cimeni of the HNU CRLG was the workshop facilitator. Miss Aster Caberte, the DTI Director of Region 7, Miss Nanette Arbon of DTI, Bohol gave very informative input during the workshop.
An organizational meeting was held on November 22, 2008. The following are the Members of the Board and Officers of the HNU-based Consumer Alert! Group: Dionisio Calibo, Jr., Gloria Araneta (Treasurer), Mariette Corales (President), Gervacio Lopena (Auditor), Suceso Arcamo, Raul Barbarona (PRO), Remedios Cardino, Flora Loquellano, Fe Briones (Secretary), Princesita Buma-at, Jerome Auza (Vice-President), Eurea Gutierrez, Josephine Cimeni and Guadalupe Saturinas.