The passage of the Fair Competition Act into law will eliminate monopolies, cartels and other unfair business practices that lead to high prices of goods and services.
Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, made this pronouncement during his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014.
“If this bill will be enacted into law, rice cartels that caused the sudden rice of prices will cease to exist,” the senator said, adding that President Aquino himself called for the elimination of this illegal practice to drive down prices of goods and other products.
Aquino said the bill safeguards the welfare of businesses, large and small, and protects honest, hard-working entrepreneurs against abuse of dominance and position, and other unfair practices that put both Filipino businesses and their consumers at risk.
“The Fair Competition Act, moreover, promotes a culture of healthy competition that inspires ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in addressing market needs,” added Aquino, whose Senate Bill No. 1027 or the Philippine Fair Competition Act of 2013 was among the measures consolidated under Senate Bill No. 2282.
In his speech, Aquino said the Fair Competition Act of 2014 will, among other things, promote and enhance economic efficiency and competition and ensure that industrial concentration would not limit economic power to a few.
“It will also prohibit anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position that distort, manipulate, or constrict the operations of markets in the Philippines,” the senator stressed.
Aquino added that the push for inclusive growth would be much easier with a help of a competition policy that gives entrepreneurs and small businesses the capability to compete against big businesses.
“I’m hoping this competition policy, if passed, can support our micro, small and medium enterprises, let them grow into larger enterprises and provide more jobs to our countrymen,” Aquino emphasized.
At the same time, Aquino allayed fears that big businesses with high market share will be affected by the competition policy.
“This is not against companies that have high market share. It’s against companies with high market share and who are using that position to abuse their powers or abuse smaller players in the market,” he explained.
The Philippines is one of few developing countries that do not have a valid competition policy.
In the past two decades, Congress tackled several competition bills but lawmakers failed to find common ground on key provisions, hampering their passage into law.
“The Fair Competition Act is both pro-poor and pro-business.”