MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday called for the immediate passage of a measure meant to support Filipino online businesses.
Senate Bill 1591 or the Internet Transactions Act authored by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay will ensure local online platforms are treated equally as non-resident online platforms, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.
“This means domestic online platforms shall be given opportunities to grow and be competitive in the digital market. What’s more, the Senate bill provides incentives to encourage newly registered online enterprises, especially during this time of pandemic to operate above-ground,” Lopez said.
Effective remedies for complaints are also embedded in the bill to protect the interest of consumers, he said.
Lopez said the measure would ensure that Philippine regulations have authority over foreign platforms.
Under the proposed law, the DTI will be granted regulatory powers which will enable it to take down websites or issue cease-and-desist orders for platforms selling illegal or dangerous products.
The DTI is also pushing for the development of the eCommerce Philippine Trustmark which further strengthen safety and security in internet transactions, it said.
“This bill will balance the interests of entrepreneurs, consumers, and the government by establishing a forum for stakeholders to raise issues and concerns surrounding e-commerce," he said.
The government earlier urged online sellers to register in order to ensure safety and protection of both sellers and consumers. The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to the gig economy as consumers turn to digital for their daily and essential needs.