Competition agency lays down rules
The implementing guidelines of the Philippine Competition Act have been laid down Friday in order to take effect this month as the quasijudicial body tasked to ensure fair competition in the business sector aims to swiftly look into recent developments, especially in telecommunications, that may foster uncompetitive business practices.
The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 10667, described as the country’s first foray into antitrust regulation, prohibited anti-competitive agreements, especially those restricting competition in terms of pricing, its components or other terms of trade.
Among or between competitors, the IRR prohibited “setting, limiting or controlling production, markets, technical development, or investment” as well as “dividing or sharing the market, whether by volume of sales or purchases, territory, type of goods or services, buyers or sellers, or any other means” that will “substantially” prevent, restrict or lessen competition.
Also, the rules prohibited abuse of dominant position, through which one or more entities engage in conduct that would substantially prevent, restrict or lessen competition in nine ways, namely:
Selling goods or services below cost with the object of driving competition out of the relevant market;
Imposing barriers to entry or committing acts that prevent competitors from growing within the market in an anti-competitive manner, except those that develop in the market as a result of or arising from a superior product or process, business acumen, or legal rights or laws;
Making a transaction subject to acceptance by the other parties of other obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the transaction;
Setting prices or other terms or conditions that discriminate unreasonably between customers or sellers of the same goods or services, where such customers or sellers are contemporaneously trading on similar terms and conditions, where the effect may be to lessen competition substantially;
Imposing restrictions on the lease or contract for sale or trade of goods or services concerning where, to whom, or in what forms goods or services may be sold or traded;
Making supply of particular goods or services dependent upon the purchase of other goods or services from the supplier which have no direct connection with the main goods or services to be supplied;
Directly or indirectly imposing unfairly low purchase prices for the goods or services of, among others, marginalized agricultural producers, fisherfolk, micro-, small-, medium-scale enterprises, and other marginalized service providers and producers;
Directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling price on their competitors, customers, suppliers, or consumers, provided that prices that develop in the market as a result of or due to a superior product or process, business acumen or legal rights or laws shall not be considered unfair prices, and
Limiting production, markets, or technical development to the prejudice of consumers.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will likewise thoroughly review mergers and acquisitions by determining their specific impact on their respective markets or sectors.