Manila, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has called on major e-marketplaces operating in the Philippines, urging them to eliminate illegal vape product sales from their platforms. The DTI emphasized the responsibilities and obligations of such e-marketplaces under the Internet Transactions Act (ITA).

In a meeting held on June 27 with representatives from Tiktok, Shopee, Lazada, and other e-marketplaces, the DTI underscored that non-compliance could result in the issuance of compliance orders and penalties under the ITA.

“E-marketplaces must play a crucial role in combating the proliferation of uncertified and illegal vape products. We call upon these platforms to fully implement their responsibilities under the Internet Transactions Act by proactively preventing the distribution of illegal vape products,” DTI Secretary Fred Pascual asserted.

Section 32 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11967, or the Internet Transactions Act of 2023, mandates e-marketplaces to require merchants to submit appropriate registrations and permits and to establish contractual obligations between the platform and the merchant.

In a positive development, the e-marketplaces collectively agreed to voluntarily take down vape listings while they clean up their sites of illegal products. They also committed to implementing Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures to ensure all online sellers possess the necessary registration and permits.

DTI Undersecretary Amanda Nograles welcomed the platforms’ cooperation, emphasizing the Department’s focus on the full enforcement of the vape law in conjunction with the ITA.

“The DTI is steadfast in enforcing compliance with the vape law, especially now with the ITA as one of our legal tools in combating the online sale of illegal vapes. We are actively collaborating with online platforms to safeguard consumer interests and public health,” Nograles stated.

To further protect consumers, the e-marketplaces pledged to report comprehensive measures they will undertake to prevent the promotion, advertisement, sale, and delivery of vape products to minors. They also agreed to submit compliance reports to the DTI, outlining their efforts to adhere to regulations and guidelines governing the online sale of vape products. 

The DTI has been working closely with major e-commerce platforms to ensure full compliance with Republic Act (RA) No. 11900, or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, commonly known as the Vape LawThe illegal vape market in the Philippines has negatively impacted minors and led to significant tax revenue losses, which are crucial for funding the country’s universal healthcare program.

According to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the market shift from traditional tobacco products to vape products resulted in a PHP 25 billion decrease in collections in 2023 compared to the previous year.

With exclusive jurisdiction in enforcing the Vape Law, the DTI ensures coordination of vape-related efforts with relevant agencies. This includes collaborating with the Bureau of Customs to prevent the importation of illegal vape products and working with the Department of Health to address the public health implications of vape usage. ♦

Date of release: 04 July 2024