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The Department of Information and Technology (DICT) is set to issue next month guidelines for the operation of couriers and freight forwarders to check the rise of unregistered courier operators amid a boom in e-commerce.

DICT undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio, Jr. said the guidelines will be issued in the first or second week of January.

The crafting of the guidelines followed the filing by Buhay Party List representative Jose “Lito” Atienza. Jr. of House Resolution (HR) No. 481, which urges the House of Representatives to look into the reported proliferation of unregistered courier operators.

Atienza, in HR 481, said the rapid growth of e-commerce in the country has given rise to the demand for courier and freight forwarding services, “which started sprouting like mushrooms.”

He added that DICT has revealed that modern information and communications technology is “being used by unscrupulous foreign couriers, [which] has placed legitimate freight and courier companies in an unfair situation of competing against unregulated and fly-by-night operators.”

The accreditation and regulation of couriers is handled by DICT’s Postal Regulations Division pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7354, or the Postal Service Act of 1992, also authorizes

The authority to regulate the postal delivery services industry was transferred from then Department of Transportation and Communications to DICT when the latter was created under R.A. 10844, or the DICT Act of 2015.

According to R.A. 7354, the regulatory authority—which is now DICT—should register and prequalify any person, natural or juridical, other than freight forwarders, who engages in the business of letter and parcel messengerial services, door-to-door delivery, or the transporting of the property of others that is similar to mail or parcel.

Rio said DICT has already issued warnings to traditional and online merchants against dealing with unlicensed couriers as these merchants will become responsible for any loss or problems encountered in the deliveries.

“They should not use them (unregistered couriers). Because they will be the ones liable if these couriers are involved in irregularities,” Rio said.

Top e-commerce platform operators will also be summoned in Congress to inquire into their use of unregistered courier operators.

Registered couriers listed on the DICT website include 2Go Express Inc., 3PL Service Provider Philippines, Inc., ABest Express, Inc., Black Arrow Express, ACE-REM Messengerial and General Services, Inc., Airfreight 2100, Inc., Airspeed International Corp., AM Services Company, Inc., and Top Dynamics, Inc.

DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan had earlier urged lawmakers to pass a law regulating internet-based cargo couriers and freight forwarders to protect the public from unlicensed companies.

“Millions of Filipinos are now buying or selling things on the internet, and these products are delivered by couriers and forwarders. It’s important that they be regulated and licensed to protect the public,” Honasan said.

Atienza, meanwhile, said there is also a need to craft a law to regulate the growing e-commerce industry.

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