With more Filipinos turning to the internet to conduct daily businesses under the new economy, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the Internet Transactions Act to make transactions easier and faster and strengthen the country’s digital economy.
The Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs has filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1591 or the proposed Internet Transactions Act, to make buying, selling and other transactions faster with just a tap of a finger. Gatchalian said eCommerce provides consumers with time-saving options and access to 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 admits that the Philippines’ e-commerce is still at its developing stage despite the Philippines’ estimated 76 million active internet users and high internet penetration rate (71% vis-à-vis global average of 54%), longer hours spent daily on the internet (10 hours vis-à-vis a global average of 6 hours 42 minutes), and very high social media penetration for population aged 13+ (99% vis-à-vis a 59% global average).
Citing a study by Google and Temasek, the Philippine internet economy posted a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $7 billion in 2019. The value pales in comparison with those of Malaysia ($11 billion), Vietnam ($12 billion), Singapore ($12 billion), Thailand ($16 billion), and Indonesia ($40 billion).
The country’s eCommerce market remains at 1.6% of GDP.
According to Gatchalian, it is paramount to enact SBN 1591 to resolve key concerns in the country’s eCommerce industry such as (a) Lack of trust; (b) Internet infrastructure; (c) Logistics infrastructure; (d) Payment mechanisms; (e) Lack of governing entity at the regional level that can fight cybercrime and settle cross-border disputes; (f) Difficulty in the process of returning product; (g) Taxation; and (h) 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 Republic Act. No. 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000; and be the focal point in the monitoring and implementation of the Philippine eCommerce roadmap.
“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,” he said.