Lawmaker Pushes for the Creation of e-Commerce Bureau to Regulate Online Transactions

Jun 10, 2020

Source: CNN Philippines, Jun 9, 2020

(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — A member of the House of Representatives said his proposed electronic commerce (e-commerce) bill would aid in the protection of consumer and sellers who conduct business online.
Rep. Wes Gatchalian of the 1st District of Valenzuela City said despite the steady rise of e-commerce in the country, there was still no law to regulate it.

“Ang ating e-commerce revenue nung 2015 ay mayroon pong $2 billion…nung 2019 ito’y tumaas ng higit $7 billion…makikita po natin na palaki nang palaki ang industriya nito,” Gatchalian told the Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday. “At sa ating paglaki, nakikita natin na marami pa pong pagkakataong lalo pang lumaki ang transaksyon sa internet.”

[Translation: Local e-commerce revenue in 2015 reached $2 billion…in 2019 it rose to $7 billion…we can see this industry keeps growing. As it grows, we can see that there are still many opportunities to increase transactions on the internet.]

With restrictions brought about by the pandemic, Gatchalian said numerous online transactions take place, whether it be buying or selling.

Under House Bill No. 6122, Gatchalian said an e-commerce bureau would be established and the Department of Trade and Industry would be the agency tasked to regulate online transactions.

“Ang e-commerce bureau po…ang magiging…isa lang pong ahesiya na magha-handle po ng mga complaints ng mga iba’t-ibang issue,” he said. “Ito po ang mag-aayos ng mga lahat ng possible ng mga issues na dumarating mula sa mga consumers natin.”

[Translation: The e-commerce bureau would be the agency to handle complaints and other issues. This would fix all possible issues coming from consumers.]

Gatchalian noted that there have been hundreds of reports of fake transactions made during the course of the quarantine period. The proposed bill could put a stop to this, he said.

In a previous speech, President Rodrigo Duterte cautioned the public from buying from online sellers, saying it could lead to fraudulent sales.

But Gatchalian said it could be difficult to make people avoid buying or selling online, so it’s important for the government to step in and offer protection.

“Ang importante po ay pumasok ang gobyerno para protektahan ang mga mamimili at protektahan din ang merchants,” he said. “Kaya po sa ating House Bill 6122…ito po ay ire-regulate natin by asking all online platforms na mag-register sa Department of Trade and Industry. Kapalit naman po niyan ay bibigyan natin ng ating tinatawag na DTI trust mark, kung saan itong trust mark, kung mayroon sila nito, ang ating mga consumer ay magkakaroon ng confidence or peace of mind na mag-transact sa ating website.”

[Translation: What’s important is the government steps in to protect the buyers and the merchants. House Bill 6122 would regulate them by asking them to register with the Department of Trade and Industry. In exchange, they would be given a DTI trust mark, and this trust mark would give consumers confidence and peace of mind when transacting.]

Gatchalian added that online selling websites are often based overseas and HB 6122 would require them to set up local offices to better facilitate customer concerns.

Such a measure would help not only micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), but also those companies who act as third-party or online service providers, he said.

“Ito pong mga service providers natin ay galing sa ibang bansa, kumikita sa Pilipinas, ngunit walang nagre-regulate sa kanila,” he pointed out.

However, he clarified not everyone would be required to register.

“Ang atin lang pong tututukan dito ay ang mga nagta-transact ng negosyo, unang-una,” he said. “Pangalawa po ang mga nagbebenta in commercial quantities. Hindi naman dito maapektuhan ang consumer-to-consumer natin.”

[Translation: We will focus on businesses, and those who sell in commercial quantities. Consumer-to-consumer transactions will not be affected.]

Gatchalian said in cases of complaints, it would make both the seller and the online service provider liable for the products and services on their site.

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