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Philippine government’s e-commerce push

Image credit: Philippine Information Agency

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) have urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of digitalisation and e-commerce to expand their businesses.

In a collaboration webinar held earlier this week, titled “CTRL+Biz: Reboot Tourism Now,” the two agencies advised business owners to use computer processes to complete business needs.

The webinar was for tourism workers and stakeholders to be guided by experts in the digital economy in their digital conversion.

The DOT Secretary noted that one of the most important steps that business owners need to take is to digitalise their business operations.

A press release quoted a recent survey that said 44% of Filipinos from the 35-44 age group have increased online purchasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, according to a 2020 Philippine Travel Survey Report, more than 12,000 individuals all over the country are still willing to travel but prefer contactless activities.

The same report also cited that individuals prefer the convenience of using online platforms and contact reduction.

Stores and restaurants can offer their merchandise and meals, then receive payments online. Hotels and other accommodation establishments can accept bookings and account settlement without the need for face-to-face contact. E-wallets provide convenience in terms of seamless transactions.

As a safety net for online financial dealings, the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), instituted three consumer and seller protection measures:

  • Section 4 of BSP Circular No. 649 requires electronic money issuers (EMI) to maintain a record-keeping system, which will store the e-money instruments issued, the identity of e-money holders, and individual and consolidated balances.

The system must be able to keep track of the movement of e-money transactions and link the instruments issued to common e-money holders. This must be communicated to the client who will acknowledge the same in writing.

  • BSP requires EMIs to maintain a redress mechanism that would allow customers to file a complaint.
  • EMIs should have minimum risk management systems and controls before they operate.

Further, DTI is providing online seminars to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) bounce back from the crisis.

The Trade and Industry Secretary shared that the department has partnered with major online platforms to guide MSMEs in doing e-commerce business.

Over 500,000 have participated in the webinars conducted to help MSMEs. DTI also provides product development and free space to give exposure to the products.

OTOP or the ‘One Town, One Product’ has 34 hubs and has already helped over 30,000 MSMEs. The DTI’s Go Lokal has 123 outlets, which have helped over 600 MSMEs.

The Secretary also encouraged MSMEs to visit or contact the nearest Negosyo Centers for business advice. To date, there are about 1,130 Negosyo Centers nationwide. The DTI also offers a micro-financing program through the Small Business Corporation to help small online businesses.

Countries all over the world have yet to see the end of the pandemic as there is still no approved vaccine in the foreseeable future. Hence, it is inevitable for businesses to shift to e-commerce to survive amidst this health crisis.

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