Consumers’ sector representation in gov’t regulatory bodies proposed

A LAWMAKER has proposed the inclusion of a consumer advocates group in government regulatory bodies to promote transparency and accountability.

House Bill 6706, authored by Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd district, Pampanga), will create the Consumer Group Representative (CGR), the members of which will sit on the governing boards of the regulatory bodies of the government.

“This is in consonance with the constitutional mandate that the right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making shall not be abridged,” Arroyo said.

Under the bill, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, the Toll Regulatory Board, the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System will have as additional member a representative from the CGR.

“Sadly, numerous policy decisions in the past have been approved either without prior consultation with stakeholders or without full disclosure of details in public forums, thereby compromising the ideals of participative policy-making and transparency,” Arroyo said.

“The public helplessly watch on the sideline as a train of spiraling succession of increases in the prices of goods and services continuously devour what are left of their purchasing power,” Arroyo added.

According to Arroyo, the bill seeks to prevent malicious activities and grave abuse of discretion by those who sit on the affected regulatory bodies. “They will no longer be left unchecked as representatives of sectors concerned will have direct participation in decision-making affairs at the top level,” Arroyo said.

Under the bill, those who will be nominated as member of the CGR  must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least 30 years old, able to read and write, and has never been convicted of any administrative, civil or criminal offense involving moral turpitude.

Furthermore, a CGR member should also have at least five years of known advocacy in the consumer sector he represents.

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