THE COUNTRY’S newly created anti-trust authority, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), has tapped the expertise of Australia in combatting anti-competitive practices and promoting competitive market.

Aiming to put in place an anti-trust regime in the Philippines that reflects international best practices, PCC Chair Arsenio Balisacan and commissioners of the new agency flew to Australia for dialogues that ran from March 21-22 with top officials of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other experts.

Australia is a recognized global leader in competition law, and the ACCC is rated as among the best competition authorities in the world.

Balisacan was joined by PCC commissioners Johannes Bernabe, Menardo Guevarra, and Stella Quimbo. They visited ACCC’s offices in Sydney and Canberra to meet with ACCC Chair Rod Sims, Commissioner Mick Keogh, and other ACCC officials.

Balisacan and his colleagues also met with other Australian anti-trust experts, including Allan Fels, the first chair of the ACCC; and Russell Miller, one of Australia’s leading competition lawyers and author of the leading reference on competition and consumer protection law.

“The Philippine Competition Act (RA 10667), which became law last year after the bill languished for 24 years in Congress, was a much awaited piece of legislation expected to accelerate investments and job creation in the Philippines through regulations that combat anti-competition practices,” Balisacan said.

“With this backdrop, PCC is eager to get inputs from the best in the world to help effectively deliver on its mandate,” Balisacan added.

The PCC was constituted on February 1, following the passage of RA 10667 in June last year, and is mandated to implement provisions of the law.

The law prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

PCC has the primary and original jurisdiction on all competition related issues.

PCC is currently drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 10667.

The law’s passage last year is among the Philippines’ efforts to institutionalize sound economic policies.

Institutionalization efforts are meant to ensure that the Philippines, which has become one of the fastest growing and most promising economies over the past six years, is able to sustain its economic and social gains over the long term.

The study visit of the PCC officials to Australia was organized and supported by the Australian Embassy, in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as part of the year-long celebration of the 70 years of friendship between the Philippine and Australian governments.