KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) represented the Philippines in the three (3) – day ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Consumer Affairs Program (CAP) Phase II E-Commerce Workshop from 21 – 23 June 2023 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The DTI, through the leadership of Secretary Fred Pascual, continues to prioritize and advance initiatives to create a conducive e-commerce environment in the country while safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers.

The 3-day workshop was organized by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which centered around the crucial aspects of investigating, enforcing, and implementing consumer laws in the rapidly evolving realm of e-commerce. The workshop brought together representatives from the ASEAN Member States and esteemed resource speakers from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and ACCC to foster a deeper understanding of the status of consumer protection in the digital landscape.  

DTI Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo stressed during her opening remarks that “E-Commerce remains a high priority issue for ASEAN and that everyone needs to constantly learn and adopt, by absorbing any new information of current and best practices within and outside of the region.”

During the first day of the workshop, the DTI presented the country’s consumer protection efforts in e-commerce. According to Atty. Marcus N. Valdez II, Director of the Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau, “The CPG is committed to protecting the rights and interests of consumers by providing consumer education and information dissemination programs, overseeing the effective implementation and enforcement of fair-trade laws, and providing a mechanism for the speedy resolution of consumer complaints.” 

The Department presented policies on e-commerce, including the Proposed Revision of the Republic Act No. 7394, known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and Internet Transactions Act. In response to the continuous technological advancement, the DTI also shared its technology-based projects for consumers. One of them is e-Presyo, an online price monitoring system where consumers can check the prevailing prices of basic necessities and prime commodities and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) Verification Mobile Application which allows the public to verify the authenticity of the ICC quality seal attached to imported products. 

Additionally, the DTI reported about the DTI-Integrated Registration Information System (IREGIS), an online portal that facilitates the processing of our frontline services, including the application of sales promotions, import applications, and applications for service and repair enterprises as well as sea freight forwarders.  

The DTI also introduced its latest advocacy initiative, DTI Legit Check Facebook page, distinguishing reputable online stores from suspicious ones to further protect consumers in the digital economy. Online stores that lack the necessary/appropriate business registration/license or appear suspicious will be posted on the page.
Everyone is encouraged to follow the DTI’s Consumer Care official social media accounts for more information. For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or call the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline.*

Date of release: 30 June 2023