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DTI Begins Pilot Project of PODRS

Philippines , 16 June 2021

The Department of Trade and Industry-Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG), through its Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB), begins the pilot run of the Philippine Online Dispute Resolution System (PODRS) to start up the country’s improved online system to receive and resolve consumer complaints.

The DTI-CPG enforces laws to protect, educate and assemble consumers and consumer groups, under the Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines. Based on its records on complaints, the DTI-CPG has seen a significant rise in reporting consumer complaints due to the sudden increase in online shopping because of the circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this, the DTI-CPG proposed the implementation of the PODRS. On 15 September 2020, the DTI issued the Department Administrative Order No. 20-05, Series of 2020 with the “purpose of developing and establishing an integrated national online system by which all consumer complaints are received, docketed, transmitted, and resolved, providing network facility and limits of disclosure of data to maintain integrity and credibility of the system.”

The PODRS shall be piloted in DTI and eventually shall serve as the web-based consumer complaints portal of the country. The PODRS will automate the entire consumer complaints-handling process of the government by interlinking all the member agencies of the Consumer Network (ConsumerNet), or the group of government departments with consumer protection function, to provide redress to those consumers who will file a complaint through the system wherever they may be in the world.   

Through the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc. (UPPAF), the DTI-CPG undertakes the following phases to establish and operationalize the pilot run of the PODRS: Phase 1 is the PODRS Assessment, Phase 2 is the PODRS Functional Specifications and Workshop, Phase 3a is the PODRS Compliance: Data Privacy, Security, Risk Management, and Phase 3b is the PODRS Systems Development.

Currently, on its Phase 1, the DTI and the UPPAF are in the process of assessing the process and tools used for the DTI consumer complaints management to arrive at recommendations on functionalities to be included in the development of the PODRS.

As stated in the Department Administrative Order No. 20-05, Series of 2020, the PODRS will serve as the web-based consumer complaint portal of the country where consumers can file a complaint and seek redress in relation to the product purchased or service availed either online or offline from a business establishment or platform located in the Philippines. The DTI-CPG shall make sure that the process of handling and resolving consumer complaints and disputes are streamlined and harmonized through the PODRS, and also, make available dedicated channels of communication such as but not limited to telephone, e-mail, and social media platforms for easy access regarding consumer queries and complaints.

As the Team Leader of the CPG PODRS team, CPG Assistant Secretary, and CPAB Concurrent Officer-in-Charge Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan commits to oversee the management of the project for the immediate completion of the PODRS and says, “The system will help both the DTI and the consumers because, through the online platform, it will be easier to document and track every process of a complaint.”

CPG Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo adds, “The department will do every measure to improve the fair, transparent, and efficient process of resolving consumer complaints in the country.”

For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or CPAB@dti.gov.ph.