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‘Online shop platforms liable for selling SMS blast machines’

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
âOnline shop platforms liable for selling SMS blast machinesâ
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian noted that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had issued show-cause and cease-and-desist orders to Lazada, Shopee and Facebook Marketplace after advertisements for the sale of SMS blast machines were found on their respective sites.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Electronic commerce (eCommerce) platforms, along with parties or merchants, can be held solidarily liable for the sale of SMS blast machines and other prohibited digital products under the proposed “Internet Transactions Act” filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Gatchalian noted that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had issued show-cause and cease-and-desist orders to Lazada, Shopee and Facebook Marketplace after advertisements for the sale of SMS blast machines were found on their respective sites.

In June, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 1591, an act aimed at protecting consumers and merchants engaged in internet transactions, creating for this purpose the eCommerce Bureau.

“The reason why we included the joint and solidary liability in Senate Bill No. 1591 is to make these platforms responsible in protecting the interest of the consumers,” said the principal author of the bill.

“We want to facilitate the services offered online but there are still those who take advantage of this platform and this is what we want to address here in this proposal,” he said.

Under Section 17 of SB 1591, the proposed Internet Transactions Act, if the online eCommerce platform knows or should have known that the digital products sold do not comply with the law or if the online merchant is not duly registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies and the online eCommerce platform permits the online merchant to sell digital products, both shall share solidary liability.

The NTC said the sale of text or SMS blaster machines and similar equipment “appears to violate” the Radio Control Law and other regulations such as its Memorandum Order 01-02-2013 or the Prohibition of Portable Cellular Mobile Repeater and Portable Cell Site Equipment.

Gatchalian said the bill seeks to protect consumers from unethical, illegal and unscrupulous business practices of those engaged in eCommerce.

“Online shopping or eCommerce has radically changed the way we live our lives. Whether as a consumer or a seller, technology and the internet have dramatically transformed the way businesses and transactions are conducted,” he said.

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