By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) can nullify contracts and impose fines and penalties of at least P100 million for first offense violators of the country’s Competition Law. The anti-trust body is now speeding up its capacity-building to fight local cartels.
“The fines are huge because they are really designed to deter anti-competitive acts, including abuse of dominant position conducts prescribed in the law,” noted Ferdinand Redulla, PCC Assistant Director for Competition Enforcement.
And “The PCC is really intent on stopping and curtailing cartel conduct.”
Last week, the country’s antitrust body sent ten of its lawyers and economists to Bali, Indonesia to undergo intensive training on cartel detection and investigation through case studies, analyses and scenario-based activities.
The processes and challenges of detecting and investigating cartels in the Philippines were discussed in synergy with international competition experts from host Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
“They shared their real-life experiences as an agency in terms of how they were able to do it from start to finish. They were able to give us working templates that we can adopt and exchange in market studies,” he explained..
The international competition authorities cited cement industry cartels in other jurisdictions that were successfully investigated and prosecuted for possible abuse of dominant position around the world.
With support from the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), the Competition Law Implementation Program (CLIP) provides specialized training for ASEAN member-states focusing on practical skills and intelligence exchange.