DTI eyes development of e-commerce trustmark

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
DTI eyes development of e-commerce trustmark
Signpost of the Department of Trade and Industry
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — “The trustmark shall signify that the products, goods or services sold online can be trustworthy, provided that symbol, image, or badge issued or awarded are accredited by the concerned agencies.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking to develop an e-commerce trustmark as part of the government’s initiatives to protect consumers from fraudsters and scammers.

 The development of an e-commerce Philippine trustmark to inform consumers that the goods or services sold online can be trustworthy is among the provisions in the draft implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11967 or the Internet Transactions Act (ITA).

 “To provide assurance of safety and security in internet transactions, the DTI shall encourage the development of an e-commerce Philippine trustmark, which may be established and operated by an industry-led private sector governance body,” the DTI said in the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

“The trustmark shall signify that the products, goods or services sold online can be trustworthy, provided that symbol, image, or badge issued or awarded are accredited by the concerned agencies,” it added. 

The DTI said trustmark will operate as a co-regulation mechanism and is subject to guidelines, rules, or regulations.

 The trade department said it will issue the minimum requirements and operation criteria for the industry-led private sector governance body or bodies.

 “The DTI may offer benefits, incentives, such as the attenuation of sanctions, facilitation of registration/accreditation, or recognition to entities displaying the trustmark, encouraging compliance with standards, and fostering a culture of trust in e-commerce,” the trade department said.

It added that the governance body’s responsibilities will include setting minimum criteria, designing the trustmark, overseeing compliance with established standards, and providing an alternative dispute resolution system in the case of non-compliance. 

The DTI said it would create an e-commerce promotion council to establish a co-regulatory mechanism through the issuance of separate rules. 

Signed by President Marcos last December, the ITA aims to build trust in e-commerce by providing a regulatory framework for both consumer and merchant protection. 

The DTI is seeking the public to comment on the draft rules until March 12.

 Earlier this week, Trade Undersecretary Mary Jean Pacheco told reporters that they are hoping to complete the IRR within the 90-day period, which ends on March 19. 

The ITA mandates the DTI through the e-commerce bureau to create an online business database that will provide government and consumers access to information of businesses selling online. 

The said bureau shall also encourage the establishment of an e-commerce trust mark in close collaboration with the private sector and maintain a government-wide online consumer complaint tracking system that will be actively monitored by the DTI. 

“RA 11967 also sets the regulatory jurisdiction of the Trade & Industry department over internet transactions and provides it with powers and authority to issue compliance orders against violators, subpoena, the take down order of websites, including the blacklisting of online businesses,” the DTI said earlier.

It added that liabilities of online merchants, e-retailers, e-marketplaces and digital platforms were also set, including penalties for violators.

Pacheco expressed confidence that online marketplace platforms will comply with the new law.

“We are really confident that the marketplace platforms will comply. They will comply because this is indicated in the law. Because in the law, remember it’s about building trust,” Pacheco said.

 When it comes to selling regulated items, the marketplace platforms need to ensure that their merchants have the necessary licenses.

 “So the marketplace platforms must ensure that the merchants in their platforms are allowed to sell these items,” she added. 

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual earlier said the law provided the DTI with powers to effectively protect consumers against unfair trade practices done online. 

“We are particularly looking forward to the creation of an ecommerce bureau that will also provide the DTI much needed resources, both human, and financial, in implementing our mandate to develop and promote ecommerce in the country,” Pascual said.

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