Monday, June 17, 2024

Senate bill on Internet transactions tackled in plenary

Sen. Mark Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, presented to the chamber’s plenary on Tuesday, Feb. 7, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1846 or the proposed Internet Transactions Act.

Sen. Mark Villar
Photo from the Senate

Committee Report No. 22, which consolidated the bills filed by Senate president Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri, senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Imee Marcos, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Villar, seeks to protect both merchants and consumers engaged in Internet transactions.

In pushing for the passage of the bill, Villar noted unresolved complaints from consumers victimized by fraudulent transactions online.

He said that while consumer protection measures are currently in place, there is a lack of a law that specifically covers Internet transactions.

SBN 1846 calls for the establishment of the “E-Commerce Bureau” under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which shall have authority over activities conducted over the Internet.

It also imposes penalties against online merchants and retailers, as well as e-marketplaces and other digital platforms should they fail to fulfill their responsibilities and violate consumer rights.

“I believe it is high time to have a law that would solve issues and problems regarding the e-commerce industry,” Villar said in Filipino.

“It is my hope that the Internet Transactions Act will now formalize and organize e-commerce in the Philippines,” he added.

Villanueva, in his co-sponsorship speech, noted the contribution of digital economy to the Philippine gross domestic product amounting to P1.87 trillion in 2021, a significant increase from the P1.73 trillion recorded in 2020.

Villanueva said there is no holding back on the growth of digital economy but with it comes inherent risks and loopholes that can be exploited by both consumers and sellers.

“The good sponsor, again Mr. President, can expect our full support in seeing to it that the objective of this bill, the protection of both consumers and merchants engaged in digital transactions, come to fruition,” Villanueva said.

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