As producers are expected to make their products and services safe for consumers, government must ensure that regulatory mechanisms on consumer protection are not only enforced but also properly communicated to the general public. This is the gist of the five-day consumer protection workshop conducted by a team of consultants formed by the De La Salle University Center for Business Research and Development (DLSU CBRD).
The workshop, which was funded by the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP), was held on September 3 to 7 at Pan Pacific Manila. It focused on consumer protection in six priority sectors: (1) consumer credit and banking, (2) product safety and labeling, (3) environment, (4) phones, internet services, and e-commerce, (5) healthcare services, and (6) professional services. Government officials and employees from the different ASEAN member states attended the workshop as part of their training in consumer protection.
Titled “Validation Workshop for Developing Teaching Tools in Six Consumer Protection Priority Sectors” or simply “Training of Trainers” (TOT), the workshop utilized training manuals and other materials developed by the DLSU-CBRD team based on Technical Manuals provided by the ASEAN Secretariat. The DLSU-CBRD team is composed mostly of DLSU faculty members, namely Dr. Divina Edralin (team leader), Dr. Jaime Cempron, Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan, Dr. Ronald Pastrana, Dr. Ana Lisa Asis-Castro, and Ms. Jennelyn Gannaban. Providing technical expertise are other DLSU faculty members, namely Dr. Anthony S.F. Chiu, Dr. Nelson Celis, and Mr. Benel Lagua.
The main goal of the TOT was to assess whether the training manuals and the proposed training methods will be useful to the different ASEAN government officials and employees, who are expected to echo the training they received so as to expand the pool of consumer protection advocates in their respective countries. The TOT covered a variety of topics on consumer protection such as substantive consumer protection issues, pre-market interventions, post-market interventions, and redress mechanisms. More importantly, the workshop participants were exposed to a variety of training methods such as interactive lectures, group discussions, case analysis, role plays, and structured learning activities. The feedback given by the participants will be used to improve the design of the training manuals before these are made available to concerned government agencies ASEAN-wide.