House OKs bill protecting consumers, merchants engaged in internet transactions
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved Tuesday a bill providing protection to consumers and merchants engaged in internet transactions.
With 232 affirmative and six negative votes, the lower chamber approved on final reading House Bill No. 7805 or the Internet Transactions Act which seeks to “promote and maintain a robust electronic commerce environment in the country and build trust between online merchants and consumers.”
The measure creates the E-Commerce Bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry which shall have authority over activities conducted over the internet which are currently not regulated.
The bureau is mandated to coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to establish, manage and maintain a Registry of Online Business which shall provide consumers access to data and information of registered online business entities for purposes of verifying the validity, existence of and other relevant information pertaining to business entities.
The bill likewise holds liable a resident of the Philippines who engages, abets, or aids in unauthorized eCommerce activities and provides that a non-resident of the Philippines who engages in eCommerce by purposeful availing of the Philippine market may not evade legal liability in the country by virtue of non-residency or non-registration.
The measure also prescribes a code of conduct for all businesses engaged in eCommerce, stipulates the obligations of eCommerce platform operators, and specifies the responsibilities of online merchant of goods.
Under the measure, the following are legally authorized to engage in e-commerce in the Philippines:
- An individual who is duly licensed to do business as a single-proprietor with the Department of Trade and Industry;
- A judicial entity that is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission whether as a corporation,
- a one-person corporation or as a partnership
- A cooperative that is duly licensed by the Cooperative Development Authority;
- A foreign corporation that is duly licensed by the SEC to transact business in the Philippines.
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