Bill seeking to boost PH eCommerce sector filed

By Jose Cielito Reganit

June 10, 2020, 5:52 pm

<p> Senator Sherwin Gatchalian</p>

 Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

MANILA – With more Filipinos turning to the internet to conduct daily businesses under the new economy, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to make online transactions easier and faster, as well as to strengthen the country’s digital economy.

In pushing for the swift passage of Senate Bill No. 1591, or the proposed Internet Transactions Act, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs said e-Commerce provides consumers with time-saving options and access to the swift delivery of goods and services.

“It also presents value for money because from the seller’s perspective, set-up costs are lower and operating costs are kept at a minimum,” Gatchalian said.

However, he noted that the Philippines’ eCommerce is still at its developing stage despite the Philippines’ estimated 76 million active internet users and high internet penetration rate.

Citing a study by Google and Temasek, the Philippine internet economy posted a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of USD7 billion in 2019.

The value pales in comparison with those of Malaysia (USD11 billion), Vietnam and Singapore (USD12 billion), Thailand (USD16 billion), and Indonesia (USD40 billion).

The country’s eCommerce market remains at 1.6 percent of GDP.

Gatchalian said it is paramount to enact SBN 1591 to resolve key concerns in the country’s e-Commerce industry such as lack of trust; Internet infrastructure; logistics infrastructure; payment mechanisms; lack of governing entity at the regional level that can fight cybercrime and settle cross-border disputes; difficulty in the process of returning the product; taxation; and online consumer complaints.

“The Internet Transactions Act will pave the way for the establishment of a singular office that will be given the responsibility of carrying out provisions of this bill, ensure the implementation of the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (RA 8792, and be the focal point in the monitoring and implementation of the Philippine eCommerce roadmap,” he said.

Kaakibat ng isang masigla, matatag, at tuloy-tuloy na pag-unlad ng eCommerce sa bansa ang pagkakaroon ng isang batas na poprotekta sa interes ng bawat Pilipinong mamimili at mangangalakal. Ako’y naniniwala na napapanahon na upang magkaroon tayo ng batas na magbibigay solusyon sa mga isyu at problema ukol sa industriya ng eCommerce (Having a law that will protect the interests of every Filipino buyer and seller is attendant to a vibrant, robust and sustained growth of eCommerce in the country. I believe that it is about time that we have a law that will provide the solutions to the issues and problems facing the eCommerce industry),” Gatchalian said. (PNA)