by Ritchelle Alburo, PHILEXPORT News and Features
Originally published in the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.'s site here.
"6. Proposed competition measure seeks to protect small enterprises
A recent proposed legislative measure on competition responds to a glaring need to address unfair competitive practices to the disadvantage of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.
While protection of consumers from unreasonable pricing has been the rationale for the enactment of many of the country’s competition-related laws, Senate Resolution No. 123 of Senator Manny Villar seeks to operationalize fair market principles and discourage monopolies to allow MSMEs to participate in the growth of the economy.
Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan of Capunan Lotilla Garcia & Castillo Law Offices was very pleased with said bill.
I would like to thank Senator Villar for recognizing the need to protect the MSMEs, said Kapunan, during a forum on Understanding Anti-trust held yesterday at the Philippine Senate, mentioning that many of the country’s small enterprises are disadvantaged by the restrictive agreements and arrangements of giant companies.
These restrictive agreements, as cited by Anthony Abad of Trade Advisory Services during said forum, include price-fixing, collusive tendering, market or customer allocation, sales or production restraints, concerted refusal to purchase or to supply and collective denial of access to an arrangement or association that is crucial to competition.
Aside from SB No. 123, there are four other proposed measures on competition in the Senate. These are SB No. 1 authored by Senator Ponce Enrile, SB No. 175 of Senator Anthony Trillanes IV, SB No. 123 of Senator Sergio Osmena III, and SB No. 1838 of Senator Mirriam Santiago.
Many of these bills seek to respond to the need to codify existing competition laws and come up with a comprehensive competition law that is workable and effectively deters anti-competitive practices.
Kapunan noted that Senate Bill No.1 of Senator Ponce “defines with particularity prohibited acts constituting monopolization and cartelization”.
By increasing the penalty for violation of Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code, Kapunan likewise intimated that SB No. 1838 will serve to deter the anti-competitive measures.
SB No. 1838 seeks to increase the number of years of imprisonment from the current six months to six years and the fine from P200 to 1,000,000.
To effectively enforce a competition law and achieve its desired outcome, Atty. Geronimo Sy of the Department of Justice laid emphasis on the need to fine-tune the evidentiary architecture of competition bills, citing that despite sectoral regulation of basic commodities, such as sugar, tobacco and rice, prices of the same remain prohibitively high, due mainly to the difficulty in providing sufficient evidence demonstrating violation of competition-related laws. -- Ritchelle Alburo, PHILEXPORT News and Features"