Press Release
June 12, 2015

Drilon: Ratification of anti-trust law boosts PHL preparations for ASEAN integration

The Philippines's preparedness for the ASEAN market integration has stepped up another notch with the Congress' ratification of the Philippine Competition Act, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today.

Drilon said the approval of this landmark measure by Congress before it adjourned its second regular session "will greatly boost the nation's preparations as Southeast Asian markets unite under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the year's end."

"With the Philippine Competition Act one step away from being enacted into law, we are much closer to ensuring that our country is at par with our ASEAN neighbors in terms of preventing unfair trade behavior within our shores," he said.

Drilon noted that the Philippines remains as the only original nation-member of the ASEAN without a comprehensive anti-trust law in effect. He added that a competition law is a commitment under the AEC Blueprint.

He stressed that the long-standing absence of a competition law "has discouraged and stymied the flow of investments to the country, thus inhibiting our long--term economic development."

Drilon then lauded Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Chair Sen. Bam Aquino and the bicameral panel from both Houses of Congress "for all their hard work in crafting a landmark national competition policy."

"After nearly three decades of attempts by Congress to pass this law, finally, we will have a competition law in place which will protect businesses and consumers," he stressed.

Drilon explained that under the act, a Philippine Competition Commission will be established to enforce a national competition policy prohibiting anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

According to Drilon, the act will penalize entities guilty of engaging in unfair business practices with fines reaching up to P250 million, with amounts adjusted for inflation every five years. Offenders of the act may also face up to seven years in prison.

The Senate leader then said that passing the Philippine Competition Act will reinforce and complement many of the economic reforms the government has been pursuing: "The Philippine Competition Act is just one of the many pro-economy reforms and policies which are being pushed to make the country more competitive and more compliant to international standards, thus maximizing our true economic potential."

He said that the Senate has already passed economic reform measures like the amendments to the Cabotage Law and the Tax Incentives Transparency and Management Act (TIMTA), while other proposed measures like the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives, and the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act (CTMA) are in the works as part of its priority legislative agenda.

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