DTI sees 4K percent rise in online businesses during virus lockdown

By: Christia Marie Ramos - Reporter / @CMRamosINQ - Inquirer.net | September 03,2020 - 03:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has seen a 4,000-percent increase in the number of registered online businesses during the six-month lockdown enforced by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

During a Senate committee hearing into the proposed Internet Transactions Act on Thursday, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said there has been a “substantial” rise in online businesses in the country.

After the government imposed lockdowns, Lopez said the number of online businesses registered with the DTI jumped by 73,276 from March 16 to August 31.

“We now have a total of 75,029 online businesses registered,” he said. “This is over a 4,000-percent increase.”

Prior to the declaration of a state of national emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lopez said there were only 1,753 online businesses that were registered with the DTI from January 1 to March 15.

Rise in complaints

Lopez also said the DTI recorded a rise in complaints involving online transactions.

“While we see a huge jump in business names registered, our regulatory arm, our consumer’s protection group, likewise, saw a significant rise in the number of consumer complaints,” he said.

“Due to the difficult movement, consumers heavily relied on online shopping,” he added.

According to Lopez, the number of complaints involving online transactions jumped to 12,630 as of August 31 of this year.

This, from a total of 2,457 complaints filed in 2019, he noted.

“The quadruple increase of this is attributed to the surge of online transactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the DTI chief said.

“The highest number of complaints, 8,000, were during the months of April and May when the strictest level of community quarantine was in effect in major areas in the country,” he added.

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