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Antitrust agency probes cement sector

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) yesterday confirmed that it was conducting a “full administrative investigation” on the cement industry since January, a probe that remained “nonadversarial” since no formal complaint had been filed against any specific industry player yet.

PCC Executive Director Gwen G. de Vera told reporters that they were trying to determine the specific violations of the competition law following a complaint made by a former trade official.

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“I would like to confirm that, for the cement case, PCC is already in full administrative investigation,” she said.

This corrected a comment from PCC earlier this week saying that it was still in the process of a preliminary inquiry into the complaint instead of a full investigation.

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“What we would like to emphasize is that the full administrative investigation continues to be nonadversarial. It still involves a look, except now it’s a closer look at the industry. And now, unlike in preliminary inquiry, it may involve speaking with industry players not necessarily those named in the complaint,” she explained.

In August last year, Laban Konsyumer Inc. president Victorio Dimagiba filed an affidavit-complaint at the PCC against the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (Cemap), led by its president Ernesto Ordoñez, LaFarge Holcim Philippines Inc. and Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc.,— all of whom were accused of anti-competitive behavior.

De Vera said that the preliminary inquiry was a broad look into the cement industry using publicly accessible documents. While not specifying which particular documents were used, she cited records at the Securities and Exchange Commission and industry reports as possible sources.

While the preliminary inquiry had a 90-day deadline prescribed by the competition law, she said that a full investigation was not time bound.

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TAGS: cement industry, full administrative investigation, nonadversarial, Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)
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