Lawmaker urges Aquino to certify antitrust bill urgent

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Monday, March 24, 2014

FOLLOWING a recent report which ranked the Philippines sixth in the latest Crony Capitalism Index, a lawmaker on Monday urged President Benigno Aquino III to immediately certify the antitrust bill of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte as urgent.

Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian said the urgent passage of House Bill 1133 also known as the Philippine Fair Competition Act of 2013 will make playing field even, eliminating the hold of cronies in crucial industries, such as, utilities and telecommunications.

Gatchalian said that the proposed measure will sway fair environment for foreign investors in setting up businesses in the country, which in turn will help create more jobs.


"Cronies, cartels and monopolies still exist even after the Martial Law years, as shown by the crony-capitalism index. It is high time for this proposed law to be certified urgent. I call on President Aquino to make the bill a priority to ensure its passage in both Houses," Gatchalian said.

The Philippines recently moved three notches up this year from No. 9 in the 2007's The Economist's gauge on countries where crony capitalism is still active, ahead of its Asian neighbors like India (No. 9), Indonesia (No. 10), and China (No. 19).

The lawmaker cited The Economist's assessment in the country on "building cartels and lobbying for rules that benefit a firm at the expense of competitors and customers as cases of rent-seeking."

Gatchalian recalled that under the 1987 Constitution, the State is mandated to regulate or ban monopolies.

"The proposed law fleshes out what the Constitution already provides. It expressly lists what acts will be prohibited as well as the penalties for violator firms," he added.

He said the bill will open the economy to more local and foreign players. "Before foreign investors can set up their ventures here, they will need a business-friendly environment," he added.

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