PCC extends probe of questionable practices in rice sector
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will look further into potential anticompetitive practices in the rice sector as consumers continue to face supply lack and high prices.
PCC Commissioner Stella Alabastro Quimbo told reporters yesterday the antitrust body needed to look into more nuanced information about rice markets that may not have been detailed by national or regional data during the first phase of its study.
The purpose of the market study, she said, was to identify competition concerns in the sector with the end goal of addressing those issues.
These competition concerns may include price fixing and the presence of cartels, among others.
Quimbo refused to disclose details of the ongoing market study, noting that they still needed to look into data that has not been made available so far. She said the study “also looks” into the current predicament in rice imports, among others.
“Phase 1 uses more aggregate data, which is national level data or a little bit of regional level data,” she said, citing this as the reason why the first phase ended with “very broad strokes.”
She did not say how long the second phase would take. However, she said that this probe, along with other market studies in other sectors, would have to be finished this year.
In total, PCC wants to finish several market studies this year, covering nine different sectors, namely: Rice, meat and poultry, pharmaceuticals, land transportation, air transportation, agricultural credit, digital commerce, telecommunications and retail.
After finding out the competition concerns, PCC would then decide how to approach the matter, which could involve opening an investigation.
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