House panel OKs bill strengthening PH competition commission

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A House of Representatives’ panel on Wednesday approved a measure that would strengthen the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) by amending some provisions of Republic Act 10667, or the “Philippine Competition Act.”

The House Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon Garin, approved the substitute measure consolidating House Bills 6243 and 5906, which would mainstream the National Competition Policy by mandating national government agencies and offices to promote market efficiency and enhance consumer welfare.

The bill would also assist the PCC in enforcing compensation-related laws and issuances.

The amendment would also provide the procedures for a hybrid compulsory-voluntary notification regime for mergers and acquisitions within compulsory notification and review for transactions exceeding PHP50 billion.

Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, the chairperson of the Technical Working Group (TWG), said the hybrid scheme would allow the PCC to focus its resources towards competition enforcement.

“The premise here is that the hybrid allows us to maintain for large mergers and acquisitions a compulsory component, whereas it becomes voluntary for review while strengthening the motu proprio and retroactive powers of the PCC should those below the PHP50-billion mark or threshold have been found to have been involved in an anti-competitive behavior,” Benitez said.

The consolidated measure also provides increased penalties for anti-competitive behavior by entities and expands the range of violations that may be sanctioned by the PCC.

Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo said these amendments to RA 10667 would increase the enforcement powers of the PCC against cartels in basic commodities.

“This bill seeks to amend the PCA for purposes of enhancing the PCC’s ability to enforce its mandate, particularly in investigating cartels, bid-rigging, market foreclosure, and other anticompetitive conduct, as well as imposing various fines, penalties, and remedies,” Quimbo said.

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