Thursday, July 14, 2011

Anti-trust crusaders hail EO45

"Anti-trust crusaders hail Aquino order"
Published 12 July 2011 in Malaya
(Original article available online here).

"The Young Lawyers in Support of Antitrust Law, together with a number of Filipino distributors and lawyer-anti-trust crusader Lorna P. Kapunan, hailed the signing by President Aquino of Executive Order No. 45 which gives full jurisdiction to the Department of Justice (DOJ) over matters related to competition and fair trade practices.

"President Aquino assured Filipinos that the matter of monopolies and corporate bullying tactics was one of the first issues that he would look into. By signing this executive order, he has shown that he is taking active steps to back up that promise," Kapunan said.

EO 45 creates the Office for Competition (OC) whose mandate is to investigate and prosecute all anti-trust violations. 

The OC is also tasked to "enforce competition policies and laws to protect consumers" and "supervise competition in the markets by ensuring that prohibitions and requirements of competition laws are adhered to." 

The OC must likewise "monitor and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in markets" and "prepare, publish and disseminate studies and reports on competition to inform and guide the industry and consumers."

Kapunan said with EO 45, "Filipino entrepreneurs beleaguered by unfair business practices of giant conglomerates will now know exactly where they should seek help." 

"Now that it is clear which agency has jurisdiction, I am certain that more Filipino distributors will take action against exploitation by multinationals," she said. 

A number of pending legislative bills are in collaboration with EO 45, most of which are intended to improve current laws on monopolistic behavior, predatory pricing, and the restraint of trade. 

There is Senate Bill No. 1 ("The Competition Act of 2010") authored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Senate Bill No. 123 ("The Fair Trade Act of 2010") authored by Sen. Sergio Osmeña. 

There are 12 anti-trust bills in the House of Representatives, among them House Bill No. 4835 ("The Philippine Fair Competition Act of 2011") authored by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez."

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