• House OKs anti-monopoly bill

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    The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the Anti-Fair Competition bill that seeks to prevent companies from controlling more than 50 percent of the market.

    House Bill 5286 was principally authored by Tarlac Rep. Enrique Cojuangco who died early this month.

    Under the measure, there will be a rebuttable presumption of dominance if an entity controls at least 50 percent of the relevant market—defined as the group of goods or services that are sufficiently interchangeable or substitutable and the object of competition, and the geographic area where the goods or services are offered which may be a city, province, region or the whole area of the country or may extend beyond the borders of the Philippines where articles are bought or sold.

    The bill will create the Philippine Competition Commission.

    The measure bans abuse of dominant position which includes but not limited to selling goods to services below cost with the intent of driving competition out of the market or creating barriers to entry; setting prices or other terms of conditions that differ or discriminate unreasonably between customers or sellers of the same goods or services where such customers or sellers are contemporaneously trading on similar terms and conditions.

    The measure, however, will not abolish existing monopolies because it is not retroactive.

    Violators will face a jail term of five to 10 years and a fine of five to 10 percent of the erring entity’s total turnover based on the entity’s audited financial statements in the preceding business year.

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