Acting on ‘Chinese-only’ shops, DTI requires menus, signs in English, Filipino
Amid the rise of Chinese food parks and other establishments with menus and signs only in Chinese, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is requiring businesses to have their marketing materials written in English or Filipino.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19 on June 21 and gave business establishments a month to comply.
The DTI has yet to set the order’s date of effectivity, which is 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.
DAO 19 was drawn up as the Duterte administration saw an unprecedented influx of tourists and workers from China, giving rise to food and service shops catering mostly, if not exclusively, to Chinese customers.
In a statement on Thursday, the DTI said the order was “prompted by the surprise inspection [the agency conducted] in a Chinese food park” in Las Piñas City in May.
Inspection teams then found that all 33 food stalls in the park had signs, price lists and receipts only in Chinese. (See related story in Metro, Page A8.)
The DTI called such business practice “deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable” to non-Chinese speaking customers.
“With this new DAO, we are enhancing the protection of consumers on their right to accessible information that can help them in making wise purchase decisions,” Lopez said.
“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,” he added.
Under the order, Filipino texts in marketing materials are not limited to Tagalog but may include regional dialects.
Shops that require translations from foreign languages must secure a “certification” from the embassy of the country whose language was used, an accredited translator, or an institution recognized by the DTI.
Failure to comply with the order entails a fine of P1,000 to P300,000, “depending on the capitalization [of the establishment] and frequency of offense,” the department said.
Violators also face cancellation of their business name certificate issued by the DTI and revocation of business permits and other government clearances. —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.