ASEAN Competition Law: The Philippines

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Geronimo Sy, Aug 24, 2015

To understand the Philippine competition policy regime, it is best to appreciate the uniqueness of its historical, cultural, and socio-political development. The Philippines is a fascinating mix of cultures that has survived through Spanish, American, and Japanese occupations. These centuries of colonization helped shape and define the development of the Philippine competition policy regime…

Contemporary legal landscape in the Philippines has its own share of competition or antitrust laws. No less than the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides the constitutional bedrock for Philippine competition legal regime with the provision that the “State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the public interest so requires… No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition shall be allowed.”…

A unique attribute of the Philippine competition legal regime is its adoption of a sectoral approach. As a matter of fact, the country has more than 30 industry-specific and consumer-related competition laws, including provisions in its criminal, civil, and corporation codes. The other competition-specific laws are enforced by more than 60 sector regulators. These laws include provisions dealing with cartels, hoarding, profiteering, price manipulation, and monopoly of essential goods, articles, and commodities, among others.

Some of the challenges associated with a sectoral approach include efficiency issues in the allocation of resources as well as consistency in regulatory enforcement, hence support has been given for the passage of a consolidated and unified approach to the country’s existing competition laws.