The E-Commerce Law – Republic Act 8792

Republic Act 8792, was signed into law last June 14, 2000. It is a landmark legislation in the history of the Philippines. Not only has this bill made the country a legitimate player in the global marketplace. The Philippine Internet community has played a major role in pushing for its passage. The law took effect last June 19, 2000.

With the Philippines relaxed stock market listing rules plus a proposed vibrant investment priorities program in place, Filipinos here and abroad, and its foreign partners, have something to look forward for.

Here are the salient features of Republic Act 8792:

  1.  It gives legal recognition of electronic data messages, electronic documents, and electronic signatures. (section 6 to 13)
  2.  Allows the formation of contracts in electronic form. (section 16)
  3.  Makes banking transactions done through ATM switching networks absolute once consummated. (section 16)
  4.  Parties are given the right to choose the type and level of security methods that suit their needs. (section 24)

5. Provides the mandate for the electronic implementation of transport documents to facilitate carriage of goods. This includes documents such as, but not limited to, multi-modal, airport, road, rail, inland waterway, courier, post receipts, transport documents issued by freight forwarders, marine/ocean bill of lading, non-negotiable seaway bill, charter party bill of lading. (section 25 and 26)

6. Mandates the government to have the capability to do e-commerce within 2 years or before June 19, 2002. (section 27)

7. Mandates RPWeb to be implemented. RPWeb is a strategy that intends to connect all government offices to the Internet and provide universal access to the general public. The Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission, and National Computer Center will come up with policies and rules that shall lead to substantial reduction of costs of telecommunication and Internet facilities to ensure the implementation of RPWeb. (section 28)

8. Made cable, broadcast, and wireless physical infrastructure within the activity of telecommunications. (section 28)

9. Empowers the Department of Trade and Industry to supervise the development of e-commerce in the country. It can also come up with policies and regulations, when needed, to facilitate the growth of e-commerce. (section 29)

10. Provided guidelines as to when a service provider can be liable. (section 30)

11. Authorities and parties with the legal right can only gain access to electronic documents, electronic data messages, and electronic signatures. For confidentiality purposes, it shall not share or convey to any other person. (section 31 and 32)

12. Hacking or cracking, refers to unauthorized access including the introduction of computer viruses, is punishable by a fine from 100 thousand to maximum commensurate to damage. With imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years. (section 33)

13. Piracy through the use of telecommunication networks, such as the Internet, that infringes intellectual property rights is punishable. The penalties are the same as hacking. (section 33)

14. All existing laws such as the Consumer Act of the Philippines also applies to e-commerce transactions. (section 33)

To understand the E-Commerce Law further, you can also read the following:

1.) Republic Act 8792 The E-Commerce Law
Contains full text of the Philippine E-Commerce Law

2.) Annotations
This is a pdf file. A guide made by Atty. JJ Disini where I”ve provided its legislative history.

3.) The E-Commerce Law Policy Advocacy Process (pages 106-116 of the Philippine Internet Review)
Petite Nuñez contributed a paper in the publication sharing how the law became possible. This can also serve as reference for anyone wanting to lobby information technology-related legislations in the future

4.) Additional regulations that were released after the passage of the legislation.
There are several department administrative orders and memorandum circular to support the implementation of the law.

5.) Lessons Learned in Cyber Legislation
As one of the lobbyist and got involved in monitoring its implementation, there are a lot of lessons learned especially in the implementation of the law that I shared here.

7.) Mind map of E-Commerce Law Republic Act 8792

For inquiries about this lesson, contact Janette Toral by sending her a private message via Facebook.