Screenshot of attendees during the public consultations for Online Business Guidelines

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its Consumer Protection Group (CPG) and E-commerce Division drafted the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on Guidelines for Online Businesses Reiterating the Laws and Regulations Applicable to Online Businesses and Consumers to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable sales acts and practices as it inculcates the rights and mechanisms for redress for online consumers.

“We want to be able to provide guidance to the e-commerce platforms, the electronic retailers, and online merchants within platforms”, Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo of CPG highlighted in the first day of the public consultation held on 1 October 2021. “This Joint Administrative Order is merely collating all these laws to make sure that we all comply and to make sure that all these platforms observe these laws. We do not mean to overregulate which means we just need to protect the consumers.”

A three-day public consultation on the said JAO was held to encourage participation from the private sector alongside with relevant government agencies. This was conducted on 1, 5, and 15 October via Zoom. The first day of public consultation catered e-commerce platforms while the second day was intended for various e-tailers in the industry. On the other hand, the third day of public consultation was attended by online merchants and was simultaneously broadcasted through official Facebook pages.

The JAO aims to reiterate to all online business the existing laws on the sale, distribution production, importation, distribution, marketing, sale or transport of products and services. It defines the responsibilities of online businesses; stresses the obligations of online platforms and penalties for the violation of regulations; and establishes the joint undertaking of government agencies with online platforms.

Drafting of the JAO sprung from consultations and discussions with different pertinent government agencies including the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the National Privacy Commission (NPC), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The three sessions of public consultations were attended by a total of 938 participants from different sectors. ♦

Date of Release: 25 October 2021