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Anti-trust body warns of penalties

The Philippine Competition Commission starting today may penalize and impose fine on companies found violating the Philippine Competitiveness Act following the end of a two-year transitory period that gave them time to correct unfair practices.

Commission chairman Arsenio Balisacan said hefty fines awaited violators of the law “but it also gives everyone a fair chance to get it right.”

“The operations of the Commission and the implementation of the competition law are now, indeed, in full swing. To the companies who welcome the challenge of competition, let us work hard to achieve our goals,” Balisacan said in a briefing Tuesday in Ortigas, Pasig City. 

“However, to all those who prevent real market competition from being realized, the law equally applies to all businesses, large or small, and we will not hesitate to use it to ensure fairness in the market,” he said.

Philippine Competition Commission chairman Arsenio Balisacan

The PCC is a quasi-judicial government agency tasked to stop anti-competitive behavior and practices in the market.

Balisacan said unfair practices which are detrimental to consumers and industry players occur when businesses agree to fix their prices or engage in bid rigging, when dominant firms actively prevent small and medium enterprises or SMEs from expanding or entering the market, or when large companies merge, and as a result, raise prices and offer lower-quality products.

“Whether you are a CEO or a director in your company, you should think twice about allowing anticompetitive acts to be part of your business strategy,” he said.  

Companies in the last two years were given the chance to renegotiate their agreements, amend their practices and restructure in order to comply with the law that was passed in 2015.

“With the full force of the antitrust law, this shall serve as a warning to companies that continue to engage in unfair business practices or harbor anti-competitive behavior. The Commission is your partner in progress but remember that we will also do whatever it takes to fulfill our mandate,” he added.

Commissioner Stella Quimbo said among the 114 cases reviewed by the Commission, there are two, aside from the acquisition of Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc., that may have anti-competitive tendencies. The two companies from the manufacturing and logistics sectors are still validating data and assessing the proposed transactions.

“If the Commission has not yet arrived at a decision within a 60-day period, the transactions are considered approved,” she said.

Of the 114 notifications submitted to the Commission approximately worth P2 trillion, 95 have been cleared while 32 were reviewed. Others are in various stages of completion.

Majority of them are from the financial, manufacturing, electricity, and transportation sectors, accounting for about 62 percent of the total number of notifications.

Topics: Philippine Competition Commission , Philippine Competitiveness Act , Commission chairman Arsenio Balisacan
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