transactions act in senate to help Filipino online platforms,
DTI-Office of the Secretary
September 3, 2020
MAKATI CITY –
Citing the need to support Filipino platforms and businesses on the
Internet, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon
Lopez called for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 1591, or the
proposed “Internet Transactions Act,” authored by Senators Win
Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.
During the joint hearing
of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship
Chaired by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Co-Chaired by Sen.
Pia Cayetano, as well as the committees on Finance and Ways and
Means, Sec. Lopez noted the relevance of the proposed measure, given
the growing number of online merchants and the corresponding
increase in consumer complaints. He added that this will also
promote and enhance consumer protection.
Sen. Imee Marcos likewise
expressed support for the bill, noting how it will help define
employment standards for the ‘gig economy’.
“With the bill’s
regulatory framework for internet transactions, the bill will
promote and support Filipino platforms and businesses based on the
principle that domestic online platforms shall be treated under the
law equally as offshore non-resident online platforms,” Sec. Lopez
“This means domestic
online platforms shall be given opportunities to grow and be
competitive in the digital market. What’s more, the Senate bill
provides incentives to encourage newly registered online
enterprises, especially during this time of pandemic, to operate
above-ground,” he added.
The trade secretary also
noted that the bill will protect the interests of Filipino consumers
by providing them effective remedies for their complaints, even if
sellers are located abroad. The bill will ensure the Philippine
government’s regulatory authority over foreign platforms or sellers.
Under the proposed law,
DTI shall have regulatory powers to allow for pro-active protection
of Filipino consumers. This means DTI will have the authority to
take down websites or issue cease-and-desist orders, which would
give the government agency prompt and effective means to curtail
further harm to consumers caused by websites selling illegal or
dangerous products or services.
Further, DTI supports the
development of the eCommerce Philippine Trustmark to provide greater
public assurance of safety and security in internet transactions.
Sec. Lopez further said that, “This bill will balance the interests
of entrepreneurs, consumers, and the government by establishing a
forum for stakeholders to raise issues and concerns surrounding
“Under this measure,
regulation can occur under an environment of stakeholder
consultation. This regulatory approach and framework is based on
experience after years of observing actual developments on the
ground in the emergence of e-commerce, which can be promoted as a
regional model moving forward,” he explained.
The proposed Internet
Transactions Act was previously mentioned by President Rodrigo Roa
Duterte during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July.
During his address, the President directed DTI and other relevant
government agencies to work closely with Congress to ensure the
provisions of the proposed bill are responsive to the needs of the
consumers while promoting the growth of e-commerce in the country.