July 21, 2021

A House subcommittee is debating whether or not to enhance the PCC.

On Wednesday, a committee of the House of Representatives adopted a bill that would strengthen the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) by modifying certain sections of Republic Act 10667, or the “Philippine Competition Act.”

The substitute measure consolidating House Bills 6243 and 5906, which would mainstream the National Competition Policy by mandating national government agencies and offices to promote market efficiency and enhance consumer welfare, was approved by the House Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon Garin.

The measure would also make it easier for the PCC to enforce compensation-related rules and regulations.

The amendment would also establish procedures for a hybrid obligatory-voluntary notification system for mergers and acquisitions that fall within the scope of compulsory notification and review for deals valued at more than PHP50 billion.

The chairman of the Technical Working Group (TWG), Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, said the hybrid system will enable the PCC to concentrate its resources on competition enforcement.

“The premise here is that the hybrid allows us to keep a mandatory component for large mergers and acquisitions while making it voluntary for review and strengthening the PCC’s motu proprio and retroactive powers should those below the PHP50 billion mark or threshold be found to have engaged in anti-competitive behavior,” Benitez explained.

In addition, the combined legislation increases the penalty for anti-competitive conduct by businesses and broadens the spectrum of breaches that the PCC may punish.

Rep. Stella Quimbo of Marikina City said the changes to RA 10667 will strengthen the PCC’s enforcement powers against cartels in basic goods.

“This bill aims to modify the PCA to improve the PCC’s capacity to carry out its mission, especially in examining cartels, bid-rigging, market foreclosure, and other anticompetitive behavior, as well as imposing different fines, penalties, and remedies,” Quimbo stated.

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