DTI, PDEA team up with e-commerce giants to combat illegal vape sales

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently hosted a briefing session with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and representatives from leading online shopping platforms Lazada, TikTok, and Shopee.

The meeting aimed to explore potential joint operations to tackle the sale of illegal vape products.

DTI Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized the department’s commitment to holding violators accountable by equipping monitoring and enforcement officers with the necessary tools to eliminate these illegal products from the Philippine market.

“Violators are becoming increasingly cunning, infiltrating the market with illegal vape products. We can combat their proliferation through a whole-of-nation approach by collaborating with other government agencies and the private sector,” he said.

The DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) is actively establishing collaborative partnerships with law enforcement agencies, non-government organizations, and industry associations to ensure robust nationwide implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11900, also known as the Vape Law.

During the briefing, intelligence officers from PDEA, including Ms. Laila Abad and Mr. Lester Urmaza, discussed emerging domestic and global trends in addictive substances. They highlighted the infusion of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, and cannabis, or marijuana, into foods, drinks, and vape products. Both substances are listed on the Dangerous Drugs Board’s (DDB) updated list of Scheduled Controlled Substances.

Representatives from Lazada, Shopee, and TikTok, including Mr. Ricky Carandang, Ms. Jean Ramirez, and Mr. Phillip Fullon, attended the briefing. They inquired about ways to tackle the sale of illegal substances in online markets.

In response, PDEA suggested renewing and updating their memorandum of agreement with the online platforms to better combat the evolving presence of illegal substances in the market. The DTI and PDEA are seriously considering future collaborations and joint operations to address these issues.

This year, the DTI has intensified its efforts by teaming up with various law enforcement agencies, including the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). These collaborations aim to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of vape regulations.

In a notable initiative, the DTI signed a memorandum of agreement with the NBI on June 11, 2024, to enhance consumer welfare initiatives with the NBI’s investigative and technical expertise.

Additionally, the DTI has conducted numerous joint operations with other government agencies and local government units.

One such operation in April 2024, with the PNP-Southern Police District, resulted in the confiscation of non-compliant vape products from a shop near an elementary school in Baclaran, Parañaque City.

Violations of the Vape Law have led to product confiscations, issuance of notices of violations, Show Cause Orders, and the filing of cases.

The DTI encourages the public to report consumer-related violations or retailers, distributors, and manufacturers selling uncertified items through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or via email at consumercare@dti.gov.ph.

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