ECCP Luncheon Meeting with the Philippine Competition Commission

February 21, 2019 ECCP@Work

Last 18 February, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) organised a luncheon meeting with Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) Chair Arsenio Balisacan. 

Key messages include the following: 

  • The PCC reported notable developments in 2017 and 2018 given its transition and the first full year of the new competition regime. Furthermore, the Commission shared its plan for the year ahead. 

  • PCC noted the relatively high level of competition restrictiveness in the Philippines. Dr. Balisacan emphasized that restrictive domestic policies need to be undone in order for sustained rapid growth to ensue. 

  • On competition enforcement, the PCC discussed its leniency program, made effective last 19 January, which seeks to deter the formation of cartels and detect and prosecute existing ones. 

  • PCC also informed the participants about its partnership with DOJ-OFC, Ombudsman and DTI in further enforcing the competition law. 

  • The Commission discussed its competition advocacies which are geared towards the easing of foreign investments' entry with special focus on Amendments to the Foreign Investments Act; Amendments to the Public Services Act; promotion of competition in the telecommunications sector; opening up of the construction sector to foreign players; retail trade liberalization. The review of free trade agreements and legislative franchises is also on the radar of the PCC. 

  • 2019 priority industries for enforcement and advocacy include manufacturing, rice, pharmaceuticals, air and land transport, logistics, e-commerce, retail/supermarkets, telecommunications, agricultural credit, poultry and livestock, milk products, fertilizers & pesticides, logistics supply chain, corn milling and trading, refined petroleum, and sugar. These industries are chosen based on a careful and strategic assessment of their impact on consumers and the probability of enforcement success. Market studies are conducted to serve as input in the Commission's work with regulators as well as the legislative and executive branches.  

  • PCC also proudly announced its efforts on strengthening institutional capacity, now with 162 dedicated staff. 

  • Finally, Chairman Balisacan urged the business community to voluntarily comply. On the other hand, consumers were requested to immediately report any anti-competitive market practices once observed.