By Chino S. Leyco
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) in boosting its competencies as well as other government agencies with competition-related mandates.
In a statement, the ADB said it approved a $23.3-million loan to enforce the country’s 2015 Philippine Competition Act (PCA) by boosting skills and competencies of PCC staff.
“ADB’s support aims to help the Philippines eliminate barriers to business entry and anti-competitive practices in many sectors of the economy, which affects prices for consumers,” Jose Antonio Tan III, ADB director said.
“By fostering better enforcement of the competition law, this project will also help the government sustain economic growth in the Philippines, which, at an average of 6.3 percent annually from 2010 to 2018, is among the fastest in Southeast Asia,” he added.
The project is in line with the government’s vision to create a vibrant, fair, and efficient market competition environment that will help the Philippines attain its goal of reaching upper middle-income status by 2022.
Under its medium-term Philippine Development Plan 2017–2022, the government “seeks to enhance market competition by fostering an environment that penalizes anti-competitive practices, facilitates entry of players, and supports regulatory reforms to stimulate investments and innovation.”
The Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project builds on ADB’s assistance to the Philippines since 2016, when the government formed the PCC, the quasi-judicial body tasked to enforce and implement the PCA.
ADB has provided technical assistance to PCC since its establishment, including staff training on international best practices to investigate, stop and prevent anti-competitive practices.
Under this new project, ADB will help build the capacity of PCC and other government agencies mandated to enforce the PCA.
The project will provide government staff with opportunities to further their education and skills relevant to competition law and economics, including through non-degree programs, short-term courses, distance learning courses, secondments, and scholarships for degree programs.
Other agencies with competition-related mandates include the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Justice, and the Office of the Solicitor General.