The landmark E-Commerce Law was passed on June 2000 signaling the start of an e-commerce era for this Philippines. The law gave official government recognition to various electronic transactions circulating in the Philippines. Since then, laws have been passed to regulate as well as improve the e-commerce industry in the Philippines. While an E-Commerce business is considered by the government as a typical business in the Philippines, there are additional laws that apply. The most recent of which are shown in the video above.
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Philippine E-Commerce Law
Ever since the E-Commerce Law was enacted in 2000, a lot of law and policies was enacted as its implementing guidelines. Government commissions and committees, public-private councils and government offices were created to execute the said implantation guidelines. Though its initial implementation focused on the development of the BPO industry, the succeeding laws passed eventually was to promote and regulate e-commerce focused on the Filipino mass market.
According to Janet Toral of Digital Filipino, the salient features of Republic Act 8792 are:
- It gives legal recognition of electronic data messages, electronic documents, and electronic signatures. (section 6 to 13)
- Allows the formation of contracts in electronic form. (section 16)
- Makes banking transactions done through ATM switching networks absolute once consummated. (section 16)
- Parties are given the right to choose the type and level of security methods that suit their needs. (section 24)
- Provides the mandate for the electronic implementation of transport documents to facilitate carriage of goods. This includes documents such as, but not limited to, multi-modal, airport, road, rail, inland waterway, courier, post receipts, transport documents issued by freight forwarders, marine/ocean bill of lading, non-negotiable seaway bill, charter party bill of lading. (section 25 and 26)
- Mandates the government to have the capability to do e-commerce within 2 years or before June 19, 2002. (section 27)
- Mandates RPWeb to be implemented. RPWeb is a strategy that intends to connect all government offices to the Internet and provide universal access to the general public. The Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission, and National Computer Center will come up with policies and rules that shall lead to substantial reduction of costs of telecommunication and Internet facilities to ensure the implementation of RPWeb. (section 28)
- Made cable, broadcast, and wireless physical infrastructure within the activity of telecommunications. (section 28)
- Empowers the Department of Trade and Industry to supervise the development of e-commerce in the country. It can also come up with policies and regulations, when needed, to facilitate the growth of e-commerce. (section 29)
- Provided guidelines as to when a service provider can be liable. (section 30)
- Authorities and parties with the legal right can only gain access to electronic documents, electronic data messages, and electronic signatures. For confidentiality purposes, it shall not share or convey to any other person. (section 31 and 32)
- Hacking or cracking, refers to unauthorized access including the introduction of computer viruses, is punishable by a fine from 100 thousand to maximum commensurating to the damage. With imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years. (section 33)
- Piracy through the use of telecommunication networks, such as the Internet, that infringes intellectual property rights is punishable. The penalties are the same as hacking. (section 33)
- All existing laws such as the Consumer Act of the Philippines also applies to e-commerce transactions. (section 33)
Check out a video made by a University of the Philippines Open University Student on the E-Commerce Law by clicking the button below.