DTI backs internet transactions bill

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called or the immediate passage of Senate Bill 1591, or the proposed “Internet Transactions Act,” which it said will promote and enhance consumer protection while encouraging the growth of legitimate online selling.

    DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez told the joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship as well as the committees on Finance and Ways and Means yesterday the regulatory framework for internet transactions provided under the bill will promote and support Filipino platforms and businesses.

    Specifically, the framework will level the playing field between domestic online platforms and offshore non-resident online platforms.

    Lopez noted the relevance of the proposed measure, given the growing number of online merchants and the corresponding increase in consumer complaints.

    “Domestic online platforms shall be given opportunities to grow and be competitive in the digital market. The Senate bill provides incentives to encourage newly registered online enterprises, especially during this time of pandemic, to operate above-ground,” he added.

    He said the bill will protect the interests of Filipino consumers by providing them effective remedies for their complaints, even if sellers are located abroad. The bill will ensure the Philippine government’s regulatory authority over foreign platforms or sellers.

    Under the proposed law, DTI shall have regulatory powers to allow for pro-active protection of Filipino consumers. This means DTI will have the authority to take down websites or issue cease-and-desist orders, which would give the government agency prompt and effective means to curtail further harm to consumers caused by websites selling illegal or dangerous products or services.