BAGUIO CITY — Compared to its neighboring countries in Asia, the Philippines is still lagging behind in e-commerce or online business transactions.
This is according to Rufo Sotelo of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Luzon Cluster who made the observation during a press conference for the Consumers Welfare Month organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“The DICT acknowledges that the number one problem is the connectivity,” Sotelo disclosed. He said, however, that the agency is already addressing the issue with a number of initiatives under the National Broadband Plan.
Sotelo admitted that another factor hindering the growth of e-commerce in the country is the negative perception or attitude of Filipinos on making payments online. Aside from the fact that many consumers and sellers get scammed online, Filipinos are still afraid or do not trust the use of credit cards in their online transactions.
“Here in the Philippines, the penetration of credit cards, which is one important pillar of e-commerce, is still quite low,” Sotelo stressed.
Sotelo said the third reason why e-commerce has not yet taken off the ground in the Philippines is the lack of trust, which he said is a key factor for e-commerce to succeed. The DICT official said that it is also difficult for the buyer and seller to give the trust to each other because they cannot see each other personally or face-to-face.
“We need to educate more Filipinos, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” Sotelo said. “If you don’t have any presence online or you are not selling your products online, your future is bleak,” he stressed.