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E-Commerce
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Ferquently Asked Questions
 
  1. What is E-Commerce?
  2. Why should I as an LGU be concerned with E-commerce?
  3. What is the E-commerce Law?
  4. What is the role of the government in developing E-Commerce?

1. What is E-Commerce?

The following are various definitions of E-commerce which refers to any business activity in which the parties transact though computers or other electronic devices linked via telephone or cell phone. It has become synonymous with buying and selling over the Internet.

E-commerce is a system that includes not only those transactions that center on buying and selling of goods and services to directly generate revenue, but also those transactions that support revenue generation, such as generating demand for those goods and services, offering sales support and customer service, or facilitating communications between business partners.

Fax transmission, ATM transactions, retail point of sale (POs) systems and bar coding, business e-mail and text messaging, electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic funds transfer (EFT) all qualify as e-commerce activities. However, more and more e-commerce activities are being done on the Internet because of the Internet's lower cost, ease of use and unlimited reach.

E-commerce for the LGU means having the capability of doing its business on the Internet or the Web. Primarily this means being able to provide information, accept payments, issue licenses and permits, answer inquiries and generally interact and transact the LGU's business with its constituents, its suppliers, business partners, support organizations and other LGUs and agencies of government through the efficient and effective use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

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2. Why should I as an LGU be concerned with E-commerce?

The national government and various other agencies of government, including and especially the LGUs are mandated under Republic Act no. 8972 to be e-commerce ready by June 2002. It is also the national thrust and objective for the country to become the e-services center in Asia.

More importantly, the trend in public service is towards the conduct of transactions in digitized form and facilitated through electronic instruments like computers and the Internet. This enables an LGU to address the increasing demand for speed, accuracy security and authenticity of transactions.

3. What is the E-commerce Law?

The Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8792), signed into law June 14, 2002, provides for the recognition and use of electronic commercial and non-commercial transactions and documents. RA 8792 is commonly referred to as the E-commerce law.

Section 27 of the Act provides for the government use of electronic data messages, electronic documents and electronic signatures within 2 years from the date of the effectivity of the Act. To implement the electronic transactions in government, Section 28 of the act provides for the installation of an electronic online network, in accordance with AO 332 and House of Representatives Resolution 890, otherwise known as RPWEB. This will facilitate the open, speedy and efficient electronic online transmission, conveyance and use of electronic data messages or electronic documents amongst all government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices down to the division level and to the regional and provincial offices as practicable as possible, government owned and controlled corporation, local government units, other public instrumentalities, universities, colleges and other schools, and universal to the general public.

Please refer to the Appendix for a copy of the E-Commerce Act.

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4. What is the role of the government in developing E-Commerce?

Government has an important role to play in spurring Philippine e-commerce growth. There is an emerging consensus among e-commerce practitioners and promoters that government has four specific roles in developing e-commerce practitioners and promoters that government has four specific roles in developing e-commerce. These are:

  1. Provide Favorable Policy Environment/Infrastructure
  2. Promote Trust & Confidence Among E-Com Participants;
  3. Develop Domestic Framework Compatible With International Norms;
  4. Become a Leading-Edge User to Jump-Start E-Com and Encourage Its Mass Use.

Having said these, it is also important to note that there is general agreement among those who study electronic commerce that the private sector should lead in developing, adopting, and utilizing this new form of doing business.

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5. Which government agencies are involved in helping the LGUs to facilitate the implementation of the E-Commerce Act?

The Department of Trade and Industry is the agency that will direct and supervise the promotion and development of electronic commerce in the country with relevant government agencies. DTI shall promulgate rules and regulations as well as provide quality standards and issue certifications, as the case may be, and perform other functions as may be necessary in the implementation of the Act in the area of electronic commerce: to include installation of an online public information and quality and price monitoring system for goods and services aimed in protecting the interests of the consuming public availing of the advantages of the Act.

The Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunication Commission and the National Computer Center will facilitate the rapid development of the government information structure (GII) where the RP WEB network shall serve as initial platform. They shall aggressively promote and implement a policy environment and regulatory or non-regulatory framework that shall lead to satellite and dial-up telephone access, cheap broadband and wireless accessibility by local government units, government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices, government owned and controlled corporations, other public instrumentalities and a domestic internet exchange system to facilitate strategic access to government, among agencies and the general public and for the speedier flow of locally generated internet traffic within the Philippines.

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