President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday signed into law the Philippine Competition Act and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, now known as Republic Acts 10667 and 10668, respectively.
In a ceremonial signing at Malacañang Palace, President Aquino approved the landmark Philippine Competition Act, giving the country its own law that will level the playing field for all businesses by penalizing anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players.
The Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act will allow foreign ships carrying imported cargoes and cargoes to be exported out of the country to dock in multiple ports.
The Philippine Competition Act is considered the longest-running measure in Congress, taking 25 years before hurdling the legislative mill, Aquino noted in his speech.
“Sa pamamagitan ng dalawang panukalang batas na pinagtibay natin sa araw na ito, tinatanggal natin ang mga baluktot na kalakarang dulot ng kawalan ng kumpetisyon, na walang nadadalang pakinabang sa ating mamamayan, [With these two bills that we signed into law today, we are removing the crooked systems due to lack of competition, which do not benefit our people],” said the Chief Executive.
He said the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act will cut logistics costs and lower prices of goods for consumers.
“Sa pinagtibay nating Philippine Competition Act at liberalization of Philippine Cabotage Law ang pagbabagong tinatamasa natin ngayon ay magpapatuloy hanggang sa mga susunod pang henerasyon, [With the Philippine Competition Act and the Liberalization of the Philippine Cabotage Law that we signed today, the reforms we are enjoying now will be felt until the succeeding generations],” the Chief Executive stressed.
Under the competition law, a Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will be established with the Chief Executive appointing a chairperson, four commissioners and an executive director.
“The Philippine Competition Act will usher in a new era of doing business in the country,” Sen. Bam Aquino, co-author and principal sponsor of the measure, said.
“Businesses, whether big or small, will now be on equal footing as the law penalizes anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players,” said the senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, adding that cartels will also be eliminated under the law.
As an independent quasi-judicial body, the PCC will look into anti-competitive behaviors, abuses in dominant positions, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.
“This will lead to an efficient market economy and a level playing field for all businesses,” he added.
The PCC can impose administrative penalties of a maximum fine of P100 million on the first offense and P250 million for the second offense for anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position.
Moreover, courts can impose criminal penalties of imprisonment from two to seven years and a maximum penalty of P250 million for anti-competitive agreements done between and among competitors. The imprisonment will be imposed to responsible officers and directors of the entity.
With the approval of these two measures, Sen. Bam now has four laws to his credit. Last year, the President also approved the Go Negosyo Act and the Philippine Lemon Law.