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E-COMMERCE BUREAU BILL GETS HOUSE PANEL OK

A measure seeking to protect consumers and merchants engaged in Internet transactions has hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.

During its virtual hearing, the House committee on trade and industry approved a consolidated version of the proposed Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law, which is priority legislation mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address.

The bill proposes to create an E-Commerce Bureau to regulate internet commercial activities and protect consumers who engage in online transactions.

The panel expedited the approval of the proposal, citing Rule 10, Section 48 of the House Rules, which authorizes the committees to dispose of priority measures already filed and approved on the third reading in the previous 18th Congress.

“The growth of e-commerce transactions has resulted in an apparent need for government regulation.”

Batangas Representative Mario Vittorio Marino said the growth of e-commerce transactions has resulted in an apparent need for government regulation.

“The exponential rise and consequent prevalence of online purchases are largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns that have constrained the everyday consumer to stay at home,” Marino said.

The veteran legislator stressed the need to provide an efficient regulatory mechanism to address consumer complaints and concerns, including privacy issues, trade, taxation, and labor.

“Consumer concern on security issues should be addressed by strengthening awareness in data security and supporting the capability of firms to protect e-commerce platforms.”

“Likewise, consumer concern on security issues should be addressed by strengthening awareness in data security and supporting the capability of firms to protect e-commerce platforms,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

The bill seeks to regulate all business-to-business and business-to-consumer commercial transactions over the internet, including those related to internet retail, online travel services, digital media providers, ride-hailing services, and digital financial services.

The proposed e-commerce bureau will serve as the “central authority” tasked to regulate online trade and shall act as a virtual one-stop-shop for consumer complaints on internet transactions.

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