By Jennifer C. Tilos
The Consumer’s Advocates, Inc. (CAI) of Negros Oriental trained a new consumer group in Siquijor province on April 14 at the Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Office in Siquijor, Siquijor.
A team of 10 CAI members, led by its president Linda Basmayor, handled the whole-day organizational development and planning activity for some 12 core members of the Vigilant Consumers Association of Siquijor (VICAS).
“We wanted VICAS, our counterpart in Siquijor, to feel more vigilant and empowered in promoting consumer rights and welfare by providing them with the necessary tools in working effectively as an organization, advocating their cause, and closely coordinating with government agencies, such as the DTI,” Basmayor said.
VICAS was only established late last year and is in the process of filing their papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is headed by its president Rhuan Dogon.
Basmayor shared: “During the training, we observed that there are a number of consumer concerns in Siquijor. The participants from VICAS floated the problem of restaurants and resorts refusing senior citizen discounts, stores giving candies as change, and the long queues for tickets at the pier of one of the country’s famous tourist destinations only to be later told that tickets have run out.”
VICAS, Basmayor added, has committed to promoting consumer education and coordinating with appropriate agencies to help address the issues identified.
This is the second time for CAI to help train consumer groups outside Negros Oriental. Three years ago, it also trained an umbrella organization for all consumer groups in Bacolod City.
Both trainings by CAI in Bacolod and Siquijor were done in close partnership with and at the initiative of Angeline Pauline Gonzalez of DTI. Gonzalez used to be Chief of the Consumer Protection Division of DTI Negros Oriental and is currently OIC Provincial Director of DTI Siquijor.
CAI was formed when Gonzalez was still with DTI Negros Oriental. Now that she is with DTI Siquijor, CAI works with her in ensuring that a new consumer group gets registered and accredited by DTI Region VII.