DOJ, Private Businesses Welcome Passage of Bill Penalizing Cartels, Abuse of Dominance

Stakeholders, led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), welcomed the long-awaited approval of the Philippine Competition Act, a landmark legislation that will level the playing field for all types of businesses

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima lauded Sen. Bam Aquino and Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua for their energy and dedication to work for the passage of the bill, which gathered dust for almost 25 years in the legislative mill.

Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, was the main author and sponsor of the measure, which is expected be signed into law by President Aquino.

“The Department will continue to support legislation that will level the playing field and inject fairness and transparency in dealings and transactions specially those affecting small businesses and consumers,” De Lima said.

“This legislation actually rewards good business practices and goes against those who exploit markets or engage in abusive behavior,” said DOJ Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, head of DOJ-Office for Competition.

 “Building a competition culture across all sectors of society is key. We are happy that we finally passed it,” added Sy.

Under the proposed law, the DOJ-Office for Competition is assigned to investigate cartels that are considered criminal actions.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expects a sustained strong economy with ratification of the Philippine Competition Act.

 “This law will push businesses to engage in a healthy rivalry so that they will gain more consumers. It gives us the incentive to be more efficient and to offer the public better quality products and services,” PCCI president Alfredo M. Yao said in a statement.

If enacted into law, Yao added that the Philippine Competition Act will encourage the entry of small firms into the market “with the expectation that rules will be applied equally to all.”

The European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, for its part, expressed full support behind the passage of a national competition law, saying it would “ensure a level playing field for business, protect consumer welfare and make the Philippine economy more competitive.”

“The passage of this landmark measure materialized through the collective efforts of the Senate and House and the full support of private stakeholders,” Sen. Bam said.

 Sen. Bam added that private stakeholders, such as the PCCI and the ECCP, were consulted in the crafting of the measure to ensure that the bill would be pro-business, pro-poor and pro-consumer.

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