• PCC to identify ‘headache’ biz sectors

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    The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), launched in February, is currently focusing on building its staff and carrying out necessary research, with the aim of completing its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) by June, the agency said on Thursday.

    Arsenio Balisacan, PCC chairman, told reporters on Thursday that the PCC has already started to carry out its mandate to safeguard competitiveness across sectors.

    This comes in the form of a “scoping study” that the PCC is currently forming, which is a “systematic” survey of sectors to identify those that “have problem with competition.”

    He declined to name the headache sectors, but said there are “about 10” of them, which are being discussed closely with the industry groups concerned.

    The scoping study is expected to be completed by May, he said.

    Balisacan admitted that they are still in the early stages of building the commission, mainly hiring people and relocating into a temporary office within the Development Academy of the Philippines in Ortigas.

    The PCC chairman said they have already received budget for operations from the government this year but declined to disclose the actual allocation.

    The IRR, on the other hand, is underway and set to have its first draft in May, which will then be passed on to various agencies for review and discussions.

    Balisacan said the final draft is expected to be completed by June.

    The commission is still waiting for the IRR’s completion for full exercise of its mandate.
    “Under the law, we can’t really do much without the IRR,” Balisacan said.“Second, there is also a transitory adjustment period until next year. During that transition, the business sectors will take that period to adjust their conduct and activity with the provision of the law,” he added.

    Formed under the Republic Act 10667 or Philippine Competition Act of 2015, the PCC is a quasi-judicial body tasked to ensure an efficient market competition via a level playing field among businesses engaged in trade, industry, and all commercial economic activities; protect consumer welfare; and advance both domestic and international trade and economic development.

    It is mandated to conduct inquiries, and investigate and penalize all forms of anticompetitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions across all business sectors.

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