Competition commission to start probing cartels


The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is investigating players in the manufacturing, public services and agriculture industry for possible anticompetitive practices, and may impose penalties on violators following the expiration of the transitory period to comply with the Philippine competition law.

The two-year transitory period for the companies to undo their anticompetitive practices ends on Aug. 8 this year, which means the fines and penalties that could be imposed on them would then be in full force and effect, said PCC chair Arsenio Balisacan.

Fines for first-time offenders could be as high as P100 million. Aside from imposing administrative penalties, the PCC could also file criminal complaints in the Department of Justice.

The PCC had received 26 queries and complaints for

anticompetitive conduct involving various industries, and three cases have advanced to the full administrative investigation stage, Balisacan said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

These three cases involve cartels and abuse of dominant position.

Lower prices, better quality Balisacan did not provide specific details to preserve the integrity of the probe.

Earlier reports said the PCC had found indications of  anticompetitive agreements in the local cement industry, which was prompted by the filing of complaint by a former trade department official.

Balisacan also said the implementation of the competition law was expected to benefit consumers as it would lead to lower prices of goods, more choices and better quality of products available to them.

He also said the PCC was ready to go up even against industry giants with vast resources.

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