The Philippine Competition Commission secured a six-year project from the Asian Development Bank to boost the country’s competitive environment, narrow the gap on competition expertise in the country and build a domestic knowledge base for the effective implementation of the competition law.
The regional lender approved a $23.3-million loan on Dec. 5, setting in motion a program aimed at strengthening the antitrust authority’s institutional capacity, while furthering the culture of competition in other government agencies and in the academe.
Jose Antonio Tan III, ADB director for public management, financial sector and trade at ADB’s Southeast Asia regional department said the bank aimed to help the Philippines eliminate barriers to business entry and anti-competitive practices in many sectors of the economy, which affects prices for consumers.
“By fostering better enforcement of the competition law, this project will also help the government sustain economic growth in the Philippines, which, at an average of 6.3 percent annually from 2010 to 2018, is among the fastest in Southeast Asia,” Tan said.
“The PCC recognizes that its success as a young agency rests in its ability to strengthen the skills and competencies of its staff, work inter-operably across its network of competition champions and enforcers and vigorously engage the public and private sectors in competition advocacy. The project is strategically designed to address these three broad factors,” said PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan.
Balisacan on Wednesday led the launch of the “Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project”, with ADB country director Kelly Bird, ADB Southeast Asia director for public management, financial sector and trade Jose Antonio Tan III and ADB Southeast Asia senior economist for public finance Cristina Lozano. Othel V. Campos
Building PCC’s institutional capacity, one of the project’s three objectives, will be done by tapping local and international expertise for training and advisory services to strengthen PCC’s ability in competition enforcement, research and advocacy.
The project’s second goal is to advance knowledge in competition law and policy through staff development via at least 200 short courses or grants, at least 40 degree scholarships and numerous exchange programs.
The targeted beneficiaries will be from the PCC and its partner agencies, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Justice-Office for Competition and the Office of the Solicitor General.
PCC will engage the academe by establishing an academic center of excellence in competition law and policy through the University of the Philippines College of Law. This is aimed at developing a pool of competition lawyers, economists and experts in the country.
The hub is also set to establish research grants and enable participants to contribute to the body of competition research locally and internationally.
“The PCC is grateful for ADB’s generous support for this project that can bring us closer to our vision of becoming a world-class authority in promoting competition to help achieve a vibrant and inclusive economy and advance consumer welfare,” said Balisacan.