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Isko: If it’s way too cheap, don’t buy it

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno with permits bureau chief Levi Facundo and MPD-Dagupan Station chief Maj. Jerry Tubera (left) during a raid of fake health products in Binondo. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

IF it’s way too cheap, have doubts and don’t buy at all.

With online shopping becoming the most opted mode of purchase amid the pandemic and the nearing Christmas season, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno warned the public against falling prey to unscrupulous online traders peddling cheap but fake health products, as he demanded a ‘proper’ explanation from Shoppee and Lazada for allowing their companies to be the conduit of these products’distribution.

Moreno made the pronouncements after personally leading a raid on two warehouses in Binondo selling bogus health and beauty products and where incidentally, countless packs already slated for delivery —complete with the names and addresses of customers— to various areas in Metro Manila by the said online sellers were also found lying in one of the rooms inside one of the buildings.

The mayor was assisted by bureau of permits chief Levi Facundo, MPD-Station 2 Dagupan PCP chief Maj. Jerry Tubera and Special Mayor’s Reaction Team chief Maj. Jhun Ibay in conducting the raid and subsequently closing down the two warehouses which were found to be lacking in proper permits along with their personnel, while the products inside did not have the necessary approval from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

The warehouses located on 539 Caballero and 281-H San Fernando Streets both in Binondo owned by Johnson Sy and Jerry Ong, respectively, yielded over P3 million worth of fake branded shampoos, lotions, perfume and even baby skin products which are immitations of those being made by leading pharmaceutical companies in the country.

Addressing Shoppee and Lazada, Moreno stressed that the applicants for online selling are subject to approval and due diligence so “if we do not receive proper explanation, you may be charged for certain liabilities because you are putting the citizens of Manila at risk by allowing these bogus products to be sold in your system.”

To the public, Moreno had this to say: “ Pag sobrang mura sa alam ninyong presyo, ang dapat na umiral sa atin ay pagdududa. Bakit binebenta ng sobrang mura? Hindi laging pagtitipid ang dapat na umiral sa atin, dapat duda at kaligtasan din.”

Moreno noted that the fake products being packed for delivery by the said online sellers pose health hazards as they are either applied to the skin, hair or even ingested, even as some products are meant to be protect babies from rashes.

“When you allow a certain seller in your site, see to it that you practice due diligence by at least asking if the products, specially food and health products, are covered by the necessary documentation and approval from the FDA,” Moreno said, adding that under Section 16 of the Local Government Code, he is obliged to protect the citizens of Manila.

Facundo said Sy and Ong were charged with violation of RA 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Phlippines, RA 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009 and Ordinance 8331 for failure to secure business and occupational permits and failure to submit DOH-FDA license to operate.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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