Press Release
September 3, 2020

Opening Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano During the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship hearing on the proposed Internet Transactions Act

Mr. Chair, this is actually a joint hearing with my Committee on Ways and Means. There are some tax provisions here. And I agree with Senator Marcos, let's study it very well. I also... I think all of us have observed, if not tayo-tayo and our spouses, wala akong spouse, but Senator Koko has a spouse who sent me something - a product of.. And I have also sent you something, a product of my young entrepreneurs, young kids, the age of our kids who are now engaged in this.

And by the strict definition of the bill that we are tackling, all of them will be required to register and when they register as a single proprietorship, that also would require that the Mayor's permits and all the accompanying checklists of the mayors will be completed. But from my understanding, the mayors are not yet in a position to be granting online permits. Because number one, they are grappling with COVID, and to be able to make that shift, it will take some time.

Technically, if it's a food business, and I think that's the most shared product nowadays - from brownies to cupcakes, lahat na ng version niyan naibenta na ng mga Pilipino, at lahat yun nakain na rin natin. If they will all be registered... If they do not comply, they will be in violation of this law. So that's something that we really need to take consideration of as we tackle it.

And then two points lang, the first one was the taxation measure. The second is, although it was not referred to my other Committee, the Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, I do intend to listen intently because it really falls within the ambit? Of that Committee's work as well - Innovations and Futures Thinking.

I am very excited about this. This is an opportunity to innovate. But I also want to call attention to the resource persons to please take note of Goal 8, which is Decent Work and Economic Growth. Yun nga ang iniisip natin, how do we create that environment of growth given the circumstances and given what we want to do - we want to regulate.

So in my earlier discussions with DTI, sabi ko, I'm all for regulation, but how do we allow it to flourish and grow before we kill it. Something like that. And then for SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, one thing I've noticed is dumami rin ang gumamit ng plastics, pagandahan din ng packaging. It's one thing to ensure that the product arrives safely, na mukha pa rin siyang edible, it's another thing that it is double, triple layered in non-renewable or non-reusable packaging materials, and number one there is plastic. So it's really going to cause...

I support growth of online transactions, but we really have to look into responsible consumption and production. That's it lang, Mr. Chair. I'd like the resource persons to take note of these concerns of mine so if they can include it in their presentations or make a separate position paper on it, on how they seek to address these things, it would be very much welcome on my part.

Thank you very much.

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