DTI-BIR joint ops yield
shop closure, seizure of non-compliant vape products in Manila
Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo,
DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) Director Atty.
Fhillip D. Sawali, and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
Assistant Commissioner Atty. Jethro M. Sabariaga inspecting
vape products in Manila on 19 June 2023.Consumer Protection
Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, DTI-Fair
Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) Director Atty. Fhillip D.
Sawali, and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Assistant
Commissioner Atty. Jethro M. Sabariaga inspecting vape
products in Manila on 19 June 2023.
DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau
June 23, 2023
MAKATI CITY – The
joint forces of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) resulted in the closure of two (2)
vape stores and confiscation of 989 units of non-compliant vaporized
nicotine and non-nicotine products and novel tobacco products worth
P344,520.00 during the focused enforcement operation in Manila
City, on 19 June 2023.
Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, together with the
DTI-FTEB Director, Atty. Fhillip D. Sawali, led the inspection of
vape products sold or offered for sale by 14 vape stores, while BIR
Assistant Commissioner Atty. Jethro M. Sabariaga led the BIR
Recognizing that business
registration requirements and tax obligations are part of the
implementation of the Republic Act (RA) No. 11900, also known as the
“Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act", the
BIR has been very active in conducting inspection and pursuit
against illegal sellers and traders of vape products.
Out of the 14 monitored
vape stores, seven (7) non-conforming shops were issued a Notice of
Violation (NOV) by the DTI-FTEB enforcement teams, requiring each to
submit a written explanation within 48 hours from receipt thereof.
The common violations of
vape retail establishments consist of: failure to post the minimum
age requirement, lack of point-of-sale signage, and sale of vapor
products that are appealing to minors, such as those with fruit,
candy, and dessert flavors; and packaging that features cartoon
Moreover, two (2) of the
monitored non-compliant vape stores were found selling and promoting
vape products within 100 meters from a playground, or entertainment
facility frequented by minors. Consequently, the vape stores
immediately stopped their operations at the order of the mall
USec. Atty. Castelo
emphasized that the Department will maintain its heightened
enforcement operations against violators of R.A. No. 11900 and its
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
“The Department has done
its part to guide business establishments and enrich their
understanding of R.A. No. 11900 and its IRR. The violations that we
observe today are a blatant disregard of the said reminders and
advisories, particularly the law. With this, the Department will
continue to conduct intensified enforcement operations to ensure
appropriate actions are being taken against violators,” said USec.
USec. Atty. Castelo added
that apart from physical stores, the Department is also active in
monitoring the compliance of e-commerce platforms.
With the DTI as the lead
agency responsible for regulating the importation, manufacture,
sale, packaging, distribution, use and communication of vaporized
nicotine and non-nicotine products and novel tobacco products, USec.
Atty. Castelo expressed gratitude to BIR for supporting the campaign
against violators of R.A. No. 11900.
“In support of the DTI’s
campaign against sellers of vape products that do not comply with
the requirements of the law, the BIR issued the Revenue Regulations
(RR) No. 14-2022, which set the tax guidelines for the subject vape
products in accordance with R.A. No. 11900,” BIR Assistant
Commissioner Atty. Jethro M. Sabariaga underscored.
He also highlighted that,
like physical stores, RR No. 14-2022 also mandates online vape
sellers to comply with the BIR and Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI) or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Cooperative
Development Authority (CDA) registration requirements to avoid
Director Atty. Sawali expressed that with the full support of other
government agencies, the DTI enforcement team will keep up its
momentum in enforcing R.A. No. 11900 and its IRR to protect minors
from having access to vape products.
As of 15 June 2023, the
enforcement teams have monitored and visited 621 physical vape
stores. While 249 firms were found to be compliant during the
physical validation, 229 firms were issued with Show Cause Orders (SCO)
and Notices of Violation (NOV), mandating non-compliant firms to
submit a written explanation within 48 hours from their receipt of
SCOs and NOVs. The rest of the monitored stores were either closed
or no longer selling vape products. In sum, the enforcement
operations resulted in the seizure of 1,503 units of vape products
Alongside the DTI- FTEB's
enforcement operations in physical stores, its Online Monitoring
Unit (OMU) has also intensified its monitoring initiatives,
resulting in 31,570 monitored online vape stores. Of these, only 219
online stores were compliant, while 31,351 were non-compliant. Of
the non-compliant online stores, only 1,525 have valid addresses and
have been subjected to validation and physical inspection. During
the said physical validation cum inspection, 46 NOVs were issued,
while the rest were either closed or cannot be located.
Recognizing the challenge
of regulating the selling of vape products by online merchants,
twenty-six (26) SCOs were issued to different online platforms
notifying them of online merchants selling or offering for sale vape
products that do not conform with RA 11900 and its IRR. They were
given 48 hours from receipt thereof to submit a written explanation.
The OMU monitors seven (7)
major online platforms and 14 company websites daily.
Through the combined
efforts of the on-the-ground and online enforcement teams, there are
already 82 formal charges filed against violators of R.A. No. 11900
and its IRR. A case has also been filed against one of the largest
e-commerce platforms in the country.
R.A. No. 11900 vests the
regulatory jurisdiction over vapes and other novel tobacco products
in the DTI while providing complementary roles to other government
agencies, particularly the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department
of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd),
and Local Government Units (LGUs).
Further, the DTI also
engages in a nationwide campaign against uncertified items in the
market, including the enforcement of DTI technical regulations
mandating compliance with Philippine Standard Certification Mark
Schemes, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series
To protect consumers or
potential buyers of electrical and electronic products; mechanical
or building and construction materials; and chemical and other
consumer products and systems, DTI–Bureau of Philippine Standards
(DTI-BPS) covers products and systems through implementing Mandatory
Product Certification Schemes: the Philippine Standard (PS) Quality
and/or Safety Certification Mark Licensing Scheme and the Import
Commodity Clearance (ICC) Certification Scheme.
The DTI urges consumers to
report violators of retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that
sell uncertified items, through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI
(1-384) or email@example.com.