Safer digital transactions will increase e-commerce



In my April 15, 2024 column I highlighted how e-commerce will create opportunities for local businesses and economies. For our purposes, allow me to reprise an important part of the article:
“Based on the 2022 e-commerce roadmap of the DTI, the digital economy is already at US$7.5 billion and expected to grow to US$25 billion by 2025. I will not be surprised if actual values are higher than projected.”

The sheer size and growing volume of these electronic transactions in the form of Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs) already tell us that electronic commerce is the way forward for many in the country. This will be especially vital for those in the regions such as the Visayas and Mindanao where many local consumers and enterprises are expected to flourish. Businesses can tread their own path to export outside their borders through value chains that put them in touch with new sets of customers they meet online.

EFTs also enable more efficient accounting so that transactions are recorded properly especially as these cross local and global borders. Knowing this, a welcome development is the introduction of measures to help consumers with their electronic transfers. BSP Circular number 1195 requires those facilitating electronic fund transfers (EFTs) to implement consumer recourse mechanisms (

These measures will allow more consumers and enterprises to resolve concerns that emanate from transactions. As a result, having these mechanisms will inspire confidence among the public that is increasingly reliant on electronic fund transfers.

In the case of Mindanao, I believe having safe and reliable cross-border transactions between the island's enterprises and counterparts from outside the island and even the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN growth area will be an important step to help their businesses grow. There is a large global market for Halal goods and services, a demand for off-season fruits, and a desire for residents from this growth area to explore other countries within ASEAN.

I am hopeful that these mechanisms may be able to help detect new scams and alert the public.


What I am reading

As we enter the month of June we celebrate the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Fathers’ Day. On this occasion, I believe it is vital for many of us fathers to deepen our understanding of fatherhood and how our past experiences may have shaped our own views and practices of parenting.

In this light, I am reading Embracing the Thorns of Our Hearts, a book by a Filipino Catholic priest Fr. Phil Estrella from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. It was published in 2019 by St. Paul Publications and is available in St. Paul bookstores.

It is an easy yet sharp read, with the pages consisting of short paragraphs interspersed with a lot of art that emphasizes his points and adds texture to the testimonies and examples that further illuminate his concepts.

The book brings a refreshing spiritual perspective on how pain should be understood and how we can address them through forgiveness and gratitude. This message is a countercultural one when read against the backdrop of our world today, characterized by tendencies like hyperemotionality that tends to obscure understanding of our situations and gaslight our often-angry reactions, instead of facilitating meaningful, loving responses that facilitate healing. In turn, this facilitates our emotional and spiritual growth.

The book speaks to those who may have been experiencing emotional pains resulting from past hurts and are caught in the spiral of that nagging need to act on and react to them at the expense of others.