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Anti-competitive practices, fair game for PCC

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) – set up in February as the guardian of fairness and efficiency for industry, trade and commerce activities conducted in the country – is fleshing out its mandate.

Last week, the PCC released a draft of the rules and regulations which it intends to implement, in line with the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) which came into effect last August. The draft will go through a general consultative phase before it can be approved. The final version is scheduled to be released in June.

The PCA was drafted to promote fair market competition and has provisions to penalise practices such as anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions (M&As), cartel and monopoly operation, abuse of corporate power in sectors where an entity is dominant, and anti-competitive contracts and agreements.

The commission is charged with providing a level playing field across all strata of business and economic activity, to bolster both domestic and international trade and economic development. The protection of consumer welfare is also part of its brief.

Quasi-judicial, the PCC is empowered to review M&As, determine notification and procedure requirements, and where appropriate, prohibit such deals. It will work closely with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) for which an information-sharing mechanism is being initiated. Under this, the PSE will provide the Commission with lists of transactions that fall within the scrutiny framework.