Fair Competition Act to boost PHL readiness for ASEAN integration

June 12, 2015

Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed confidence on June 12, 2015 that the country’s preparedness for the ASEAN market integration has stepped up another notch with the Congress’ ratification of the Philippine Competition Act or the Anti-Trust Law.

Drilon said the approval of the Competition Act on June 10, 2015 “will greatly boost the nation’s preparations as Southeast Asian markets unite under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the year’s end.”

“With the Philippine Competition Act one step away from being enacted into law, we are much closer to ensuring that our country is at par with our ASEAN neighbors in terms of preventing unfair trade behavior within our shores,” Drilon said in a statement.

Drilon said, as of present, the Philippines remains as the only original member-state of the ASEAN without a comprehensive anti-trust law in effect.

He said a competition law is a commitment under the AEC Blueprint.

Drilon said the long-standing absence of a competition law “has discouraged and stymied the flow of investments to the country, thus inhibiting our long-term economic development.”

The Senate President lauded Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship headed Sen. Bam Aquino and the bicameral panel from both Houses “for all their hard work in crafting a landmark national competition policy.”

“After nearly three decades of attempts by Congress to pass this law, finally, we will have a competition law in place which will protect businesses and consumers,” he said.

Under the proposed measure, a Philippine Competition Commission will be established to enforce a national competition policy prohibiting anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

It will also penalize entities guilty of engaging in unfair business practices with fines reaching up to P250 million, with amounts adjusted for inflation every five years. Offenders of the act may also face up to seven years in prison.

Drilon said that passing the Philippine Competition Act will reinforce and complement many of the economic reforms the government has been pursing.

“The Philippine Competition Act is just one of the many pro-economy reforms and policies which are being pushed to make the country more competitive and more compliant to international standards, this maximizing our true economic potential,” he said.

He added that the Senate has already passed economic reform measures like the amendments to the Cabotage Law and the Tax Incentives Transparency and Management Act, while other proposed measures like the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives, and the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act (CTMA) are in the works as part of its priority legislative agenda.

(By Amita O. Legaspi – GMA News)