E-COMMERCE platform Lazada Philippines said it requires sellers to comply with policies to ensure that so-called “sin” products are sold only to customers above the age of 18.

Online sellers of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages are required to “strictly comply with the Lazada Seller Agreement” mandating them to observe local laws and secure necessary documents and clearances, it said in a statement on Monday evening.

Lazada was responding to reports about the proposal of the Finance and Trade departments to ban the online sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and liquor if their sellers and resellers are not registered with the government, do not check the buyer’s age, and if the products did not meet the standards.

“We will continue to take strong action against sellers found breaching their commitments under our relevant agreements and policies,” Lazada said.

It said alcohol and tobacco products being sold through its e-commerce website are subject to a pop-up warning that asks for a customer’s age before viewing the products.

It said “+18 or +21” notes are printed on airway bills of products under cigarettes and alcohol categories, which will alert the deliveryman to ask and check the recipient’s ID upon delivery.

“During the ID check our delivery partner checks on the age/birthday reflected in the ID presented. If the recipient is above allowable legal age, then the delivery partner can hand over the products ordered,” Lazada said.

It also said that its business risk team “regularly audits” all deliveries to monitor proper implementation of the protocols.

The government is studying how it can set up a system where online sellers can register. Such a system will ensure the business’ legitimacy and tax compliance. It will also monitor if the seller conducts a customer check from point of sale up to the receipt of goods.

Meanwhile, PMFTC, Inc. Communications Director Dave M. Gomez said that the company is implementing an “age-gating” rule for online resellers of cigarettes to prevent minors from accessing these. He said customers are also required to present documents upon delivery.

Philippine laws prohibit the sale of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages to minors.

In June, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 60-2020 giving online sellers until July 31 to register their business with the agency or update their registration. — Beatrice M. Laforga