• ‘Competition law to help boost MSMEs, reduce poverty’

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    The newly created competition law is expected to enhance micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and help relieve poverty as it calls for healthy competition among businesses, Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said on Monday in Cebu City.

    The Philippine Competition Act (PCA) or Republic Act 10667 penalizes anti-competitive practices, promoting fair market competition in favor of the development of MSMEs, he said.

    The development of MSMEs through healthy market competition could lift more people out of poverty by creating more job opportunities, Balisacan noted in his opening statement on the first day of public consultations on the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the PCA.

    “Directly, competition-promoting policies and practices give consumers, including the poor, better access to goods and services at lower prices, greater product variety, and better quality of goods and services,” the former Economic Planning secretary said.

    “Even more importantly, competition enhances production efficiency and spurs innovation, which propel sustained economic expansion and the transformation of employment from low-paying to high-paying activities,” he added.

    Improvements in the employment scene will help ease poverty in the country, Balisacan said.

    Despite the economy growing by 6.2 percent in average from 2010 to 2015, the country’s
    poverty incidence stood at 26.3 percent as of the first half of 2015.

    Last week, the commission released the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law. It is still subject to comments and inputs from stakeholders before the final and approved version is released in June.

    The PCC held its first consultative session with businessmen and other stakeholders on Monday. The other consultations are scheduled on May 18 and 24 in Metro Manila, and May 20 in Davao.

    Enacted last year, the law seeks to promote fair market competition and imposes penalties on unfair practices including anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions, abuse of dominant position, cartels, and anti-competitive agreements.

    Created under the law in February 2016, the commission is a quasi-judicial body tasked to ensure an efficient market competition by leveling the playing field among businesses engaged in trade, industry, and all commercial economic activities. It is intended to protect consumer welfare and advance domestic and international trade and economic development.

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