Press Release
June 13, 2015

Villar welcomes ratification of reconciled anti-trust bill

Sen. Cynthia Villar welcomed the ratification of the reconciled version of the bill that seeks to uphold free and fair competition among industries and promote consumer welfare.

The Senate on Wednesday ratified the reconciled version of the Philippine Competition Act principally sponsored by Sen. Bam Aquino, chair of the Committee on Trade and Commerce.

Villar was part of the Bicameral Conference Committee that worked for a consensus on the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the proposed anti-trust bill.

"We are confident that this bill will be able to plug the holes present in existing laws and will provide a comprehensive policy to adequately and effectively prevent anti-competitive structures and practices," Villar said.

"Once enacted, we will be able to put an end to the so-called cartel as these threaten to drive away our micro, small, and medium enterprises. We want small industry players to be given a level playing field and the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our national economy," she added.

The Nacionalista Party senator introduced amendments to the bill so that it will not have a chilling effect on the business sector.

"Dominance in an industry per se is not prohibited, the law will go against a dominant player when it abused its dominant position or enter into anti-competitive agreements," she said.

Villar added the reported collusion of generation firms that allegedly caused the record increase in power rates in 2013, is a prohibited act under the new bill.

According to reports, 13 power plant companies were investigated by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for anti-competitive behavior or market abuse for withholding energy capacity. It was alleged that this act contributed to an increase of P4.16 per kWh in power rates in December 2013.

She added that the spike in the price of garlic last year from P80 to as high as P350 per kilo will also be prevented from happening again with the enactment of the anti-trust law that penalizes collusion and price fixing.

Under the bill, an independent quasi-judicial Philippine Competition Commission will be created. It will have the power to conduct an inquiry, investigate, and hear and decide on cases involving any violation of this act.

It will also review proposed mergers and acquisitions and prohibit those that will substantially prevent, restrict, or lessen competition in the relevant market.

Upon finding that an entity has entered into an anti-competitive agreement or has abused its dominant position, the Commission has the power to issue injunctions, requirement of divestment, and disgorgement of excess profits.

It can also issue subpoena to require the production of books, records, or other documents or data which relate to any matter relevant to the investigation and personal appearance before the Commission, summon witnesses, administer oaths, and issue interim orders.

News Latest News Feed