Internet Transactions Law to boost consumer confidence in e-commerce

By Kris Crismundo

December 7, 2023, 4:47 pm

<p>Department of Trade and Industry Alfredo Pascual.<em> (File photo)</em></p>

Department of Trade and Industry Alfredo Pascual. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is confident that the newly enacted Internet Transactions Act (ITA) will drive activities in the digital economy as the law provides more protection to consumers when transacting online.

DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual expressed confidence that the law would radically improve the country’s e-commerce as the ITA raises confidence in online transactions.

“The Internet Transactions Act (ITA) is a landmark measure as it comes at a time when online selling and online buying is now our way of life. The Department expresses its gratitude to President (Ferdinand R.) Marcos Jr. for championing the Internet Transactions Act as one of the 20 priority bills of his administration. We are, likewise, grateful for the firm support of both Houses of Congress, particularly to the legislation’s main sponsors,” Pascual said in a statement Thursday.

He also assured the public that the agency would ensure proper implementation of the law to boost transactions in electronic commerce.

“Under the law, the regulatory framework is set, and powers are provided to DTI that will allow the Department to effectively protect consumers against unfair trade practices done online. We are particularly looking forward to the creation of an e-commerce bureau that will also provide the DTI much-needed resources, both human and financial, in implementing our mandate to develop and promote e-commerce in the country,” the trade chief said.

The law mandated the DTI, through its e-commerce bureau, to create an online database that will provide the government and consumers access to information on businesses with digital operations.

The ITA, likewise, gives the DTI the authority to issue subpoenas and compliance orders against violators, and also order the takedown of websites, as well as blacklist online businesses.

It also sets penalties for merchants, e-retailers, e-marketplaces, and digital platforms that violate the law.

Moreover, the private sector likewise lauded the enactment into law of the ITA and expressed their support for this new legislation.

Philippine Retail Association president Roberto Claudio said the ITA would ensure a level playing field for both traditional and online retailing, benefiting consumers and merchants in the changing omnichannel environment.

“The ITA is responsive to the needs of the market and helpful to the growth of Philippine e-commerce. We are grateful to the DTI and Congress for working closely with the industry in developing this policy,” Meta head of public policy for the Philippines and Thailand Clare Amador said.

“We welcome the enactment of the Internet Transactions Act of 2023, recognizing its pivotal role in shaping a secure e-commerce ecosystem in the country,” Lazada Philippines chief executive officer Carlos Barrera added. “We remain committed to collaborate with the government, especially the DTI and industry peers to help ensure the successful implementation of this landmark Act, and pave the way for a future defined by secure, innovative, and thriving e-commerce for Filipinos.” (PNA)