Gov’t wants to revisit E-Commerce Law as online selling booms in PH

With consumers now turning to online selling due the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will aggressively implement policies to strengthen and grow e-commerce in the country while supporting current legislative measures by Congress.

DTI secretary Ramon Lopez (Photo from PCOO)

The trade department released the statement on Sunday, June 14, as the country marked the 20th year of the signing of Republic Act 8792 or the “E-Commerce Act of 2000”.

“Twenty years after this pioneering legislation was passed, we need to revisit the law to make it more relevant to the times and future-proofing it. We need to take into account the substantial developments in technology, the widespread use of internet, and the growing ecommerce sector,” said DTI secretary Ramon Lopez.

He noted that there was an accelerated adoption of e-commerce during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and with the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Lopez said to strengthen e-commerce in the country, he said the DTI is supporting the various bills related to e-commerce, particularly House Bill (HB) No. 6122 or the “Internet Transactions Act” authored by House trade committee chair Wes Gatchalian.

HB 6122 seeks to establish an E-Commerce Bureau that will, among others, focus on the following:

  • Promoting the development of ecommerce in the country by building trust between sellers and consumers,
  • Stronger online consumer protection,
  • Safer e-payment gateways,
  • Easier online business registration, and
  • Formulating other policies and programs to increase the number of online merchants and consumers.

Aside from the Internet Transactions Bill, various related bills are being tackled in Congress that aim to promote the digital economy. These include HB 6927 on e-Government Act principally authored by Camarines Sur representative LRay Villafuerte;  HB 6926 and Senate (SB) 1469 on the National Digital Careers Act; and SB 1470 on the National Digital Transformation policy.

“While we need to update our 20-year old E-Commerce Act of 2000, DTI is also bringing our E-Commerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap up to date,” Lopez said.

The trade chief explained: “With a strategy that focuses on ‘Security, Speed, and Structure’ to increase Sales, DTI is moving to further bolster e-commerce in the country. But we also need to strengthen protection of online consumers and online merchants, particularly our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”

The 2019 Google Temasek Study noted that e-commerce in the Philippines is expected to grow from $2.5 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2025. Likewise, according to statistics from EuroMonitor, there is a huge potential for growth of online commerce given that it accounts for only 3.78% of total retail in the Philippines, valued at $63.2 billion.

“With e-commerce growing and evolving, we need to tackle structural and legal impediments to ecommerce and digital marketplace growth. The upshot is that this is expected to boost our economy in terms of opening markets to facilitate sales and consumption, upgrading traditional manufacturing and service, and developing new industries for business opportunities,” Lopez said.

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