By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
Following the signing of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., of the R.A 11967 entitled “An Act Protecting Consumers and Merchants Engaged in Internet Transactions, creating for this purpose the Electronic Commerce Bureau,” otherwise known as the Internet Transactions Act (ITA).
Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Intellectual Property of the Philippines Director General Rowel S. Barba, welcomes this new law and underscores its importance in protecting not just the consumers but also the IP owners of different brands, whether local or international.
“The Internet Transactions Act will strengthen existing efforts of IPOPHL to cultivate IP respect in this e-commerce age. The E-Commerce MOU between brand owners and platforms, which IPOPHL facilitates and has emerged as a regional model for a synergized IP enforcement strategy, will be more relevant as collaboration will continue to be at the heart of an effective digital ecosystem,” Barba said.
“Together, the landmark law and our collective efforts will stand as a great defense for the welfare of our consumers and IP rights holders. The new law aims to boost and safeguard e-commerce transactions in the country and is a part of the administration’s legislative agenda aimed at building trust in e-commerce and ensuring the development and promotion of e-commerce in the country,” the IPOPHL Chief said.
Meanwhile. DTI Secretary Fred Pascual expressed, “The Internet Transactions Act (ITA) is a landmark measure as it comes at a time when online selling and online buying is now our way of life. The Department expresses its gratitude to President Marcos Jr. for championing the Internet Transactions Act as one of the 20 priority bills of his administration. We are likewise grateful for the firm support of both Houses of Congress, particularly to the legislation’s main sponsors.”
“Under the law, the regulatory framework is set, and powers are provided to DTI that will allow the Department to effectively protect consumers against unfair trade practices done online. We are particularly looking forward to the creation of an e-commerce bureau that will also provide the DTI much needed resources, both human, and financial, in implementing our mandate to develop and promote e-commerce in the country,” he added.
The ITA mandates the DTI through the e-commerce bureau to create an online business database that will provide government and consumers access to information of businesses selling online. The e-commerce bureau shall also encourage the establishment of an e-commerce trust mark in close collaboration with the private sector and maintain a government-wide online consumer complaint tracking system that will be actively monitored by the DTI.
RA 11967 also sets the regulatory jurisdiction of the Trade & Industry Department over internet transactions and provides it with powers and authority to issue compliance orders against violators, subpoena, the take down order of websites, including the blacklisting of online businesses. Liabilities of online merchants, e-retailers, e-marketplaces and digital platforms were also set, including penalties for violators.
The DTI Chief also commended the active participation of the private sector in ensuring a safe cyberspace for Filipinos. He further emphasized that the Department has been at the forefront in actively pushing for the passage of ITA.
Stakeholders from the private sector, representing digital platforms, e-marketplaces, social media platforms, banks, and digital payment providers, logistics service providers, telcos, fintech, retailers, wholesalers, MSMEs, and enablers, expressed support for the ITA law. They emphasized its significant role in setting standards and institutionalizing a code of conduct within the e-commerce ecosystem. Companies such as foodpanda, Grab, Lalamove, Lazada, META (Facebook), Pick-a-Roo, PLDT, Shopee, Zalora, Union Bank, industry organizations like the Fintech Alliance, Philippine Retailers Association, Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, as well as research institutions such as UP Law Center, UP Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation (UPPAF), Research, Education, and Institutional Development (REID) Foundation, donor agencies like the World Bank and USAID through Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (RESPOND) and Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy (SPEED) Project, and advocacy groups such as GoDigital Pilipinas, and Secure Connections, all welcomed the passage of this new law, ensuring the safety of both merchants and consumers.
Secretary Pascual also said he is confident that this law will radically improve e-commerce in the country as increased confidence on online transactions is instrumental in meeting the goal of generating more high-quality and better-paying jobs alongside President Marcos Jr.’s vision of a digital and future-ready Philippines