IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE “ELECTRONIC COMMERCE ACT”
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 34 of Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act (the “Act”), the following implementing rules and regulations (the “Rules”) are hereby promulgated:
Declaration of Policy and Principles for Electronic Commerce Promotion
Declaration of Policy
SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications technology (ICT) in nation-building; the need to create an information-friendly environment which supports and ensures the availability, diversity and affordability of ICT products and services; the primary responsibility of the private sector in contributing investments and services in ICT; the need to develop, with appropriate training programs and institutional policy changes, human resources for the information age, a labor force skilled in the use of ICT and a population capable of operating and utilizing electronic appliances and computers; its obligation to facilitate the transfer and promotion of technology; to ensure network security, connectivity and neutrality of technology for the national benefit; and the need to marshal, organize and deploy national information infrastructures, comprising in both communications network and strategic information services, including their interconnection to the global information networks, with the necessary and appropriate legal, financial, diplomatic and technical framework, systems and facilities.
SECTION 2. Authority of the Department of Trade and Industry and Participating Entities. – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shall direct and supervise the promotion and development of electronic commerce in the country with relevant government agencies, without prejudice to the provisions of Republic Act. 7653 (Charter of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) and Republic Act No. 8791 (General Banking Act).
Declaration of Principles for Electronic Commerce Promotion
SECTION 3. Principles. – Pursuant to the mandate under Section 29 of the Act to direct and supervise the promotion and development of electronic commerce in the country, the following principles are hereby adopted as Government policy on electronic commerce:
a. Role of the Government. Government intervention, when required, shall promote a stable legal environment, allow a fair allocation of scarce resources and protect public interest. Such intervention shall be no more than is essential and should be clear, transparent, objective, non-discriminatory, proportional, flexible, and technologically neutral. Mechanisms for private sector input and involvement in policy making shall be promoted and widely used.
b. Role of the Private Sector. The development of electronic commerce shall be led primarily by the private sector in response to market forces. Participation in electronic commerce shall be pursued through an open and fair competitive market.
c. International Coordination and Harmonization. Electronic commerce is global by nature. Government policies that affect electronic commerce will be internationally coordinated and compatible and will facilitate interoperability within an international, voluntary and consensus-based environment for standards setting.
d. Neutral Tax Treatment. Transactions conducted using electronic commerce should receive neutral tax treatment in comparison to transactions using non-electronic means and taxation of electronic commerce shall be administered in the least burdensome manner.
e. Protection of Users. The protection of users, in particular with regard to privacy, confidentiality, anonymity and content control shall be pursued through policies driven by choice, individual empowerment, industry-led solutions. It shall be in accordance with applicable laws. Subject to such laws, business should make available to consumers and, where appropriate, business users the means to exercise choice with respect to privacy, confidentiality, content control and, under appropriate circumstances, anonymity.
f. Electronic Commerce Awareness. Government and the private sector will inform society, both individual consumers and businesses, about the potentials of electronic commerce and its impact on social and economic structures.
g. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Government will provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with information and education relevant to opportunities provided by global electronic commerce. Government will create an environment that is conducive to private sector investment in information technologies and encourage capital access for SMEs.
h. Skills Development. Government shall enable workers to share in the new and different employment generated by electronic commerce. In this regard, the Government shall continue to promote both formal and non-formal skills-development programs.
i. Government as a Model User. Government shall utilize new electronic means to deliver core public services in order to demonstrate the benefits derived therefrom and to promote the use of such means. In this regard, the Government will be a pioneer in using new technologies. In particular, the Government Information System Plan (GISP), which is expected to include, but not be limited to, on-line public information and cultural resources, databases for health services, web sites at local, regional and national levels and public libraries and databases, where appropriate, will be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Act and RPWEB.
j. Convergence. Convergence of technologies is crucial to electronic commerce and will be supported by appropriate government policies. Government will work closely with business in preparing for and reacting to changes caused by convergence.
k. Domain Name System. The Government supports initiatives to ensure that Internet users will have a sufficient voice in the governance of the domain name system.
l. Access to Public Records. Government shall provide equal and transparent access to public domain information.
m. Dispute Mechanisms. Government encourages the use of self-regulatory extra-judicial dispute settlement mechanisms such as arbitration and mediation as an effective way of resolving electronic commerce disputes.
Objective and Sphere of Application
SECTION 4. Objective of the Act. – The Act aims to facilitate domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic, optical and similar medium, mode, instrumentality and technology to recognize the authenticity and reliability of electronic documents related to such activities and to promote the universal use of electronic transactions in the government and by the general public.
SECTION 5. Sphere of Application. – The Act shall apply to any kind of electronic data message and electronic document used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities to include domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information.