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Business

Anti-trust body to review 9 sectors this year

The Philippine Star
Anti-trust body to review  9 sectors this year
PCC commissioner Stella Quimbo said the sectors include rice, meat and poultry, pharmaceuticals, land transportation, air transportation, agricultural credit, digital commerce, retail, and telecommunications.
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MANILA, Philippines — At least nine business sectors will be up for review for potential anti-competitive concerns this year, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said yesterday.

PCC commissioner Stella Quimbo said the sectors include rice, meat and poultry, pharmaceuticals, land transportation, air transportation, agricultural credit, digital commerce, retail, and telecommunications.

The priority sectors will be subjected to market studies this year given their huge impact on consumers, she said.

“Number one (consideration) is impact to consumers. For example rice, clearly it is the biggest expenditure of households. Pharma is also an important expenditure. So some of these are because they are impactful as far as consumer welfare is concerned,” Quimbo said.

“Others like air, land, agri credit, digital commerce and telcos, these were all mentioned in the competition chapter of the Philippine Development Plan so it is really our commitment to the government. Why did we choose these? Because these are important sectors to promote growth in the manufacturing sectors, these are all essential inputs,” she added.

Quimbo said the PCC could take various steps once the results of the market studies of these nine sectors come out.

“One is, we open a case. If as a result of the market study, the PCC would feel a need to open a case, then it is within the context of the case after investigation and deciding on the matter,” she said.

“The other is, we undertake advocacy activities targeted towards the government because if, for example, a competition concern within a market  can be solved by the issuance of a government policy, then we can actually approach a government agency and explain the value of doing so,” Quimbo added.

The PCC will bid out to third party experts the contracts to conduct the market studies for the nine sectors .

For the planned market study of the telecommunication industry, PCC officials said it may be “unavoidable” to touch on the controversial deal between telco giants PLDT and Globe and San Miguel Corp.

The Court of Appeals decided last year to block the PCC’s planned review of PLDT and Globe’s deal with San Miguel for the acquisition of Vega Telecom Inc., New Century Telecoms and eTelco Inc.

“This market study, which is a separate exercise distinct from the review because the review essentially has been suspended, will be looking at the entire telecom industry. The whole gamut of services provided in the telecom industry. Obviously, given that context, you cannot avoid looking at critical aspects of telecom services which includes mobile telephony, including mobile internet services,” PCC commissioner Johannes Bernabe said.

“In terms of looking at the effect of the consolidation of telco assets in the hands of PLDT and Globe, in a way without going much into the review, it will be difficult to avoid looking at the consequences in the telecom industry,” he added.

The PCC is currently conducting full administrative investigations on the cement and power industry.

Quimbo said the PCC is targeting “to get some substantial progress within the year” for both cases.  

GLOBE TELECOM PHILIPPINE COMPETITION COMMISSION (PCC) PLDT SAN MIGUEL CORP. STELLA QUIMBO
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