DTI Optimistic About Boosting E-Commerce with New Internet Transactions Act

Manila – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) anticipates that the recently enacted Internet Transactions Act (ITA) will significantly enhance the digital economy in the Philippines by providing greater protection for online consumers. DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual, expressing his views on Thursday, highlighted the transformative potential of the ITA for the country's e-commerce landscape.

According to Philippines News Agency, the ITA arrives at a pivotal moment when online selling and buying have become integral to daily life. He expressed gratitude towards President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for prioritizing the ITA among his administration's 20 key legislative bills and acknowledged the strong support from both houses of Congress, especially the legislation's main sponsors. Pascual assured that the DTI would ensure the effective implementation of the law to stimulate electronic commerce activities.

The ITA empowers the DTI with a regulatory framework and the necessary authority to safeguard consumers against unfair online trade practices. A significant component of the law is the establishment of an e-commerce bureau, which will provide the DTI with the resources, both human and financial, to fulfill its mandate of developing and promoting e-commerce in the Philippines. The law also mandates the DTI to create an online database, offering government and consumers access to information about businesses operating digitally.

Furthermore, the ITA grants the DTI the power to issue subpoenas and compliance orders against violators, including the authority to take down websites and blacklist online businesses. It also establishes penalties for merchants, e-retailers, e-marketplaces, and digital platforms that fail to comply with the law.

The private sector has also welcomed the enactment of the ITA. Philippine Retail Association president Roberto Claudio remarked that the ITA would ensure a level playing field for both traditional and online retailing, thus benefiting both consumers and merchants in the evolving omnichannel environment. Clare Amador, Meta's head of public policy for the Philippines and Thailand, praised the ITA for being responsive to market needs and beneficial for the growth of Philippine e-commerce. Carlos Barrera, the chief executive officer of Lazada Philippines, recognized the Act's critical role in establishing a secure e-commerce ecosystem in the country and reiterated Lazada's commitment to collaborate with the government, the DTI, and industry peers for the successful implementation of this landmark Act.