HOUSE BILLS proposing the creation of an e-commerce bureau at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will safeguard internet transactions and promote the healthy growth of an online economy, one of the bills’ authors said on Tuesday.

Davao Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte said in a statement that such a measure will also encourage micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to expand via online sales.

“In order to protect the merchant and the consumer, effective regulation of commercial activities through the internet or electronic means must be established,” Mr. Duterte said in House Bill 3057’s explanatory note.

According to the 2021 e-Conomy report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co., the Philippines was the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia. The Philippine market added 12 million new digital consumers between the beginning of the pandemic and the first half of 2021.

According to the bill, the e-commerce division set up within the DTI will be abolished and replaced by the E-Commerce Bureau.

The bill authorizes the bureau to require the registration of e-commerce entities with the DTI’s Online Business Registry. It will also propose policy aimed at promoting the growth of the industry.

Mr. Duterte said such an agency will “build trust between online merchants and consumers via secure and reliable e-commerce platforms.” — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo