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MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives approved yesterday on second reading the landmark Anti-Trust Bill or the proposed Philippine Competition Act that seeks to curb monopolies and protect consumers and the economy from unfair competition.
The bill seeks to establish a National Competition Policy that will encourage fair and free economic competition by prohibiting the abuse of market dominant positions and the excessive concentration of economic power by regulating improper concerted acts and unfair business practices.
The bill was principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and one of the priority measures of both the Senate and the House.
Davao del Norte Rep. Anthony del Rosario, vice chairman of the committee on trade and industry, steered the bill’s approval after compiling all the proposed amendments put in by his colleagues.
“We’ve accomplished what we could, accommodated the amendments but we can’t allow a watered-down bill,” Del Rosario told reporters.
He said he expects the measure to be approved on third reading next week and the bicameral conference committee to be convened before the end of the month.
Del Rosario said the proposed amendment to exempt certain industries was shot down. Instead, the prerogative to make exemptions will be left to the Philippine Competition Commission that will be formed under the bill.
The measure is a consolidation of at least 11 bills earlier approved by the House committees on economic affairs, trade and industry, and appropriations, and authored by Belmonte and Reps. Salvacion Ponce Enrile, Rufus Rodriguez, Marcelino Teodoro, Reynaldo Umali, Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo, Teodorico Haresco, Jr., Niel Tupas, Jr., Sergio Apostol, Anthony del Rosario, Mylene Garcia-Albano, Gustavo Tambunting, Romero Quimbo, Reynaldo Umali, Mark Villar, Rodel Batocabe, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gary Alejano, Giorgidi Aggabao and Enrique Cojuangco.
Belmonte credited Cojuangco, who died yesterday, for shepherding the bill’s passage.
Belmonte noted that in November 2007, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations adopted the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, which each member country shall abide by and implement by 2015.
Under the blueprint, all ASEAN members are sought to introduce competition policy by 2015.
He said a national competition policy will “unify, codify, update and streamline all legislation and regulations affecting competition in the country.”
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