A January 19 workshop on competition law and policy, which emphasized the role of sectoral regulators, gathered representatives from several Philippine regulatory agencies and other government bodies. Held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila, the event was sponsored by the Philippine Department of Justice, the Department of Trade and Industry, and Japan International Cooperative Agency.
Speaking at the workshop, Anthony Valcke, ABA Rule of law Initiative (ABA ROLI) senior rule of law advisor in the Philippines, said, “Competition is a fundamental aspect of free and fair market economies.” While it is a concept fairly easy to agree on, competition is harder to put into practice, especially in emerging economies such as the Philippines. The workshop is part of an effort to increase capacity for a comprehensive national competition policy.
In his presentation, Valcke discussed different approaches to competition regulation in the United States, the European Union, Singapore and other jurisdictions. He gave examples of mergers that were prohibited based on competition laws in these jurisdictions. He also explained how cartels and restrictive practices can upset competition through price-fixing and bid-rigging. He further discussed the implications of these phenomena on consumers’ lives. Giving an insight into the regulation of monopolies, Valcke said that while monopolies are not illegal, the abuse of market power is prohibited.
ABA ROLI is currently working closely with the Philippines’ Office for Competition to help make the office a functioning entity within the Department of Justice. ABA ROLI retained an expert, Carolyn Galbreath, a member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Anti-Trust Law, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the San Francisco Anti-Trust Division and former Director of Ireland’s Competition Authority, to assist with the office’s investigation of anti-competitive behavior. The office, created in June 2011 by President Benigno Aquino, is tasked with enforcing the country’s competition laws.
To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.