Competition Policies Needed Now - PIDS

Manila Bulletin, August 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Competition Policies Needed Now - PIDS


Competition policy reforms should be in place to level the playing field and prevent powerful interest groups and individuals from controlling the market, government think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.

The PIDS issued this statement after a forum with the Consumer Unity and Trust Society based in Jaipur, India, and the Action for Economic Reforms it organized recently revealed strong efforts by a few big companies to stifle emerging competition. The seminar was part of the activities of the three-year project of PIDS, CUTS, and AER on "Competition Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and Economic Welfare in Developing Countries" or CREW.

Department of Justice Assistant Secretary and Head of the Office for Competition Geronimo Sy confirmed during the forum the anti-competitive practices of powerful Filipino businessmen.

Sy revealed that a Filipino-Chinese business tycoon once used his influence to restrict the 13th Philippine Congress in passing a competition bill.

Sy cited politicians owning generic drug firms and lobbying to have their generic drugs qualify for government bidding. A local trucking cartel also exists in the Philippines, he disclosed, wherein some ports only accept goods that go through the trucking cartel.

In the same forum, PIDS Vice-President and Senior Research Fellow Rafaelita Aldaba disclosed an exclusive dealing by a canned tuna giant company.

The controversial company used its "voluntary loyalty program" to restrict San Marino corned tuna products in selected dealers and retailers. She related a common practice by dominant companies of buying out their competitors once they become strong.

Aldaba also underscored the conflicting roles of the Philippine Ports Authority as regulator, developer, and operator of ports. …

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