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RA 4653 – A Law Against Ukay-Ukay

Posted on March 9th, 2009



The article of Butch del Castillo on Business Mirror where he talks about the booming “ukay-ukay” business in Philippines is quite a wake-upper for me. For one, I learned of the existence of a law is which being violated by this business.

The law, which according to the author is a little-known law, is the Republic Act 4653 which ironically was already in effect since 1966. Under this law, the commercial importation of textile articles which is commonly known as used clothing and rags is prohibited. A law that is necessary because of sanitary and hygiene concerns, and also to maintain the dignity of the nation.

We all know that “ukay-ukay” is popular in the country because of their price, and as some “ukay-ukay” experts would say, if you are only patient and diligent in your hunt, you may find good items in those “ukay-ukay.”



But when you stop for a while and think, these are hand-me-down clothing. They may be imported, but they are still second -hand. Who knows what health condition or ailments is present in those who were previously wearing them. Yet, this somehow does not discourage the C and D market who patronizes the “ukay-ukay,” even going to the extent of boiling the bought item just to be sure to kill whatever bacteria it carries.

But what is really bothering is that, given the existence of such a law, why is this practice being allowed in the country? Is the Bureau of Customs (BOC) sleeping on their job?

Del Castillo, analyses the reason for this further in his article by explaining further RA 4653 saying that under this law, importation of used clothing is not illegal if the used textile products are going to be used as raw materials for the making of rags for export. A flaw in the law which the importers exploit to their advantage, declaring that the items are indeed to be used for making rags.

Unless this law has finally gotten muscle and get all those who import used textiles for “ukay-ukay,” not only are we exposing Filipinos to health hazards, but we are also threatening to kill local textile and clothing businesses.





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This entry was posted on Monday, March 9th, 2009 at 10:11 pm and is filed under Contracts, Customer Satisfaction, Economy, Frugality, Government, Legal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



5 Responses to “RA 4653 – A Law Against Ukay-Ukay”

  1. mr on April 16th, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I’m just wondering whether this law also covers the selling of second hand goods with Ebay’s popularity these days. Anyone can sell anything to a wider market – the internet! I could buy something from someone halfway across the globe and I could get prosecuted? Just wondering how this law really works considering that it was created in 1966 and that the world and the way we live as well as do business has significantly changed since then.

  2. mr a on August 9th, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Another one against the free market. Do you really want people with no disposable income to run naked in the streets? If they buy second-hand clothing because it’s incredibly cheap and at least decently fashionable, then by all means let them be. Not everyone has tons of money to spend on clothes.

  3. Taina on December 27th, 2009 at 2:18 am

    It simply means that the local textile and clothing industry must work harder.

  4. Best Ukay Buys « a bunch of yesterdays on January 10th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    [...] was a time that these ukay shops were almost banned from Baguio.  Primarily because the clothes that they sell are not really meant to be sold.  [...]

  5. Edu Pedro on July 4th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Second hand brandname and high end clothing in the United States came from department stores are mostly returns and over stocks that are used one time and not used at all and most clothing donated by rich and middle income to thrith stores that are used a few time are in a very good condition. The left over that are not selling in the stores are sold to other countries such as the Philippines.The multi-billion Ukay Ukay business in the United States create a lot of job for young americans. The US government allow this to operate because the low income population can afford to buy this expensive clothing when you buy brandnew. There is no report that the government find any disease from all this clothing otherwise all stores will be closed. Most Pinoy don’t earned as much as the poor americans. If american earned $ 20,000 a month, you are consider poor because your income is not enough to support the family of 4 and sent your children to school. I buy good used clothing because it save me a lot of money and I can help more to my relatives in the Philippines. It does’n lower your standard as professional because you look better than average person if you wear a $ 300 to $ 1,200 suit you bouth for $ 20 that are use a few times. I disinfect all my used clothing twice, washed and iron before using it. I conpare my custom made suit in the Philippines and the fabric, fitting and style are not good and you don’t look very attractive to your fellow associates.So it depends what you buy. Ukay Ukay clothing are classify as follows: Over stocks (not used), returns (one time used), slightly used (used a few times), and used donated clothing that are used for one year or so. Most americans donated clothing for tax deductions every year. Pinoy prof. should learned how to buy a good clothing and disinfect them before using. It is the same when you eat in the restaurant, you don’t know if the plats and utensils are washed and disinfect properly and you don’t know who used it. Yuu have to protect yourself at all times.

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