Active consumer associations constitute a critical part of a well-functioning and effective consumer protection system, particularly where consumers are not yet sufficiently educated or empowered to exercise their rights. Consumer associations are indispensable in bridging gaps with respect to consumer knowledge, access to redress, as well as participation in policy-making processes and advocacy programs and activities. Thus, the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) developed the ASEAN Guidelines on Consumer Associations to promote engagement with the ASEAN Consumer Associations Network (ACAN).
The development of the ASEAN CA Guidelines is part of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection 2025. The role of Consumer Associations in ASEAN remains to be an integral part in providing consumers with skills, knowledge, information, and confidence to exercise their rights.
To promote the emerging consumer movement in ASEAN, the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2016-2025 envisions the development of the guidelines to provide practical orientation and good practices related to the formation, formalization, operation, and sustainability of consumer associations in the ASEAN Member States (AMS).
Through the guidelines, businesses as well as consumers in general will understand the role of Consumer Associations in consumer disputes. In addition, the guidelines set out key principles, considerations, and options to help start, strengthen and sustain both existing and aspiring consumer movements in ASEAN. The main roles and services of Consumer Associations, how to enable, set up, run, sustain and cooperate, regionally and internationally, were also included in the guidelines.
“The Department encourages consumer associations to actively use these guidelines to widen their services on education and redress”, DTI-Consumer Protection Group Assistant Secretary Ann Claire C. Cabochan underscores.
The guidelines were prepared with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through its “Consumer Protection in ASEAN” (PROTECT) project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany.
For more information on the ACCP and its programs, visit https://aseanconsumer.org/. For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or call the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline.