The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the country’s newly created anti-trust authority, has set an ambitious goal to be the most effective in the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (Asean) in instilling truly competitive markets.
PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said that the newly created PCC—which was formed by the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) passed only in December last year—will “study anti-trust models in other countries considered to have effective competition authorities.”
“We are eager to apply international best practices in the Philippines while taking into account the peculiarities of our own economy,” Balisacan said.
The PCC chairman said Singapore has one of the most—if not the most—effective anti-trust authorities in the region.
He added that the PCC has the potential of becoming one of the region’s best given the sufficient teeth the commission has from the competition law. The PCC has quasi-judicial functions, allowing it to impose penalties on its own on the most anti-competitive practices.
The PCC released its draft of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on Thursday, which is readily available on its website www.phcc.gov.ph and also on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The competition law states that the PCC Chairman has a fixed term of seven years, while four other commissioners have six- to seven-year terms.
Balisacan said the seven-year term of the first set of PCC officials is enough time to significantly improve competition in a wide range of industries in the Philippines.
After the release of the draft IRR, the PCC is scheduled to hold consultations with various business groups and stakeholders of different industries in Cebu, Davao, and Manila from May 16 to 24.
These consultation sessions will serve as a platform where stakeholders can air their suggestions and concerns that will be inputs to improve the IRR to its final and approved version, which should be completed in June.
So far, the draft IRR has listed parameters for covered cases including anti-competitive agreements and/or conducts, abuse of dominant market position, and mergers and acquisitions valued P1 billion and above, among others.
The IRR will allow the PCC to fully implement the PCA, Republic Act (RA) 10667, which seeks to promote fair market competition and penalize anti-competitive practices.
Balisacan said the law complements the Philippines’ goal of opening industries to more job-generating investments, and to make the benefits of economic growth felt by a bigger proportion of the population.
The PCA IRR was highly-anticipated by industries and businesses, as this will be a standard guidebook in implementing fair market competition and penalizing those that adopt anti-trust and anti-competitive practices such as abuse of market dominance.
The PCC is a quasi-judicial body formed by the PCA, which is tasked to ensure an efficient market competition via leveling the 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.