Alay Buhay party-list representative Wes Gatchalian filed House Bill 3878 that aims to put up the E-Commerce Bureau, which will focus and work full time on e-commerce development, international competitiveness, and continuing research.
The proposed law provides that the agency be headed by a director to be appointed by the president and will be attached to the DTI.
Gatchalian pointed out that the E-Commerce Bureau will be a high-level office compared to the E-Commerce Office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and shall be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and regulating office to promote e-commerce industry in the country.
Gatchalian said the bureau would also maintain statistical data, investigate administrative complaints against or by stakeholders, monitor and evaluate the e-commerce policies and programs.
According to Gatchalian, Congress enacted into law Republic Act 8792 otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 to facilitate domestic and international dealings, transactions through the use of electronic, optical and other similar mediums.
“R.A. 8792 recognized the role of information and communication technology in commercial trade and in nation building. As such, the E-Commerce Office of the Department of Trade and Industry was created with the aim of directly supervising the promotion and development of electronic commerce in the country,” Gatchalian said.
In pushing for the bill, Gatchalian cited a Nielsen survey which revealed that the Philippines has at least 33.6 million Internet users, representing roughly 30 percent of the country’s population who are engaged or have the potential to be engaged with online trading.
He said the e-commerce and Internet sectors have evolved rapidly since their early development and the government should take active interest and harness the opportunities offered by these emerging technologies.
Under the measure, the E-Commerce Bureau is tasked to promote and maintain fair and efficient market conduct and effective competition between persons engaged in commercial activities connected with e-commerce. It shall likewise promote the universal use of electronic transaction in the government and general public.
The bureau is mandated to foster the development and expansion of ICT services in collaboration with other countries and international organizations and give technical aid to all prosecuting and law-enforcement officers and entities of the government as well as the court that may request its services.
The bill directs the E-Commerce Bureau to conduct technical audit and establish a strong and effective regulatory system on online transaction and e-commerce and monitor and evaluate the implementation of e-commerce policies, plans, and programs. ]]>