By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
With the proliferation of Chinese-only signages in most new small establishments, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has ordered English or Filipino translations on all business and marketing materials and warned that violators will face cancellation of business permits and stiff fine.
Secretary Ramon Lopez signed Department Order (DO) No. 19-09, Series of 2019, which mandates the translation of signages, billboards, advertisements, brochures, flyers, notices, advisories, labels, price tags/lists, menus, receipts, and other business marketing materials to English or Filipino or both.
The policy move was prompted by the surprise inspection conducted by the DTI in a Chinese food park in Las Piñas City on May 10, 2019.
During the inspection, all 33 food stalls were found to be using signages, price lists, and receipts in the Chinese language only.
According to the DTI, this is a form of deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable sales act since non-Chinese speaking consumers are not provided with easily understandable information pertaining to the products and services that they need.
“With this new DO, we are enhancing the protection of consumers on their right to accessible information that can help them in making wise purchase decisions. Presenting information on products and services in foreign languages other than those officially recognized and used by the consumers are deemed unfair and discriminatory, thus, inimical to their interest,” said Lopez.
In the DO, the translation into English or Filipino of the marketing paraphernalia of a business must be visible, and printed or written legibly.
The use of Filipino language in this case is not limited to Tagalog but also includes regional and provincial dialects.
To ensure its accurate translation, business establishments are now required to secure a certification from the Embassy of the country whose language is sought to be translated to, or from its accredited translator or interpreter, or any competent individual or institution duly recognized by the DTI.
Business establishments and entities found violating any of the provisions of the DO shall be imposed with penalties ranging from P1,000 up to P300,000 depending on the capitalization and frequency of offense.
Erring businesses shall likewise face the cancellation of their business name certificate that was issued by the DTI, and revocation of business registration, permit, license, and any other regulatory clearances upon the recommendation of the Department to appropriate government agencies or units.
All business establishments and entities are given one month following the effectivity of the DO to comply with the provisions of the Order, which will take effect 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.