Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday reiterated the need for the government to strengthen its monitoring systems against counterfeit goods and fraudulent traders.
This is in light of the booming online business and growing paperless transactions across the country due to the lockdowns spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The very nature of online business which has borderless market, unlike the traditional brick and mortar stores, has practically provided the platform for the sale of counterfeit goods and has now necessitates us to strengthen consumer protection,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
In defending the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1591 or the proposed Internet Transactions Act, the senator said the pandemic has generated the need to safeguard the people against illicit traders and the sale of fake goods online
Gatchalian noted that there is little liability for those who are engaged in such activities under the present law.
This was highlighted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a recent Senate hearing on the bill earlier, as the agency’s officials admit they have no means to protect consumers from sellers that are not known in the country or which they have no access with.
The DTI admits it is facing difficulty in imposing liability to those that cannot be located or do not provide any physical address.
“This is where the challenge comes in and this is where the problem lies. Anyone can sell and anyone can buy but do we have enough safeguards to prevent counterfeit items to come in to the Philippine market?” he pointed out.
Gatchalian said the proposed Internet Transactions Act seeks to create an e-commerce bureau—a one-stop shop for consumer complaints and Internet transactions and regulatory body—for online selling in the country.