Internet Transactions Act of 2023

On December 5, 2023, President Marcos, Jr. approved Republic Act No. 11967 or the Internet Transactions Act of 2023.

The Internet Transactions Act (ITA) applies to all business-to-business and business-to-consumer internet transactions within the mandate of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), where one of the parties is situated in the Philippines or where the digital platform, e-retailer, or online merchant is availing of the Philippine market and has minimum contracts in the country. However, online media content and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) transactions are not included in the coverage of this Act.

The ITA also mandated the creation of the E-Commerce Bureau which shall be under the DTI. The E-Commerce Bureau shall:
a. Formulate policies, plans, and programs to ensure the robust and dynamic development of e-commerce;
b. Implement, monitor, and ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the ITA;
c. Exert efforts to enforce the registration of digital platforms and online merchants with the Bureau and to require the submission of information necessary for policy-making and program development purposes, consistent with the principles of minimization and proportionality in data privacy;
d. Identify regulatory gaps affecting the e-commerce and recommend appropriate executive or legislative measures that foster growth of the sector;
e. Receive and refer business and consumer complaints on internet transactions to the appropriate government agency, consistent with the no-wrong door policy of the DTI;
f. Coordinate with or petition, through the DTI Secretary, whenever appropriate, any entity, government agency, or instrumentality to take action on any matter that may impede e-commerce;
g. Investigate, motu proprio, and recommend the filing of the appropriate case for violations of the ITA;
h. Monitor the implementation of the ITA for policy-making and program development purposes;
i. Develop consumer education and information programs for consumers;
j. Collaborate with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other government agencies to develop frameworks to incentivize the use of digital payments and promote their education and adoption among businesses and consumers; and
k. Engage with law enforcement and other relevant government agencies in a formalized inter-regulator cooperation mechanism to address all cross-cutting issues and concerns that affect online consumers and the general public.

The ITA also required the establishment of the Online Business Database within one year from the effectivity of said law. It shall be a database of digital platforms, e-marketplaces, e-retailers, and online merchants engaged in e-commerce in the Philippines. This will provide the government and online consumers access to the contact information of said online businesses.

For safety and security in internet transactions, the DTI shall encourage the development of an E-Commerce Philippine Trustmark.

Lastly, the DTI shall exercise regulatory jurisdiction as to the use of internet for conducting e-commerce by e-marketplaces, online merchants, e-retailers, digital platforms, and third-party platforms. The DTI Secretary shall have the power to issue subpoena, compliance order, takedown order, and the authority to establish publicly accessible list of websites that fail to comply with a compliance order or are subject of a takedown order.

The ITA also outlines in detail the rights, obligations, liabilities, and remedies of online consumers, e-marketplaces, digital platforms, e-retailers and online merchants.

The full Republic Act may be accessed here.

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