By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, January 8, 2021; Manila Bulletin
The National Competition Policy (NCP), which has been adopted by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), is just awaiting approval by Malacanang for its implementation via an administrative order.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) reported the pending Malacanang approval of the NCP, which Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) was signed with NEDA in July last year. Once approved by President Duterte, the NCP will be implemented across all government agencies and instrumentalities and is expected to red flag anti-competition practices in the country.
The JMC enjoins government agencies to craft pro-competitive policies and interventions; promote competitive neutrality and review possible anti-competitive measures within the bureaucracy; strengthen the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG); and implement the competition law.
The joint circular also aims to foster an environment that penalizes anti-competitive practices, supports regulatory reforms, improves trade policies to stimulate investments and innovation, and boost competitiveness.
The NCP marks an important milestone in mainstreaming competition policy to foster a culture in the country, especially for the public sector to embrace competition policy. The NCP is considered the “master” policy governing all competition-related issuances, laws, and documents throughout Philippine government.
It stands to reinforce the Philippine Competition Act, and is prescribed in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2020 as a means to level the economic playing field. It is currently pending before the executive branch to be signed as an administrative order for implementation across government.
PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said the NCP serves as a framework to steer all policies, rules, regulations, and interventions by national government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs), and local government units toward the promotion of fair market competition.
“It complements the PCA in guiding the design of government interventions, especially those relating to micro, small and medium enterprises’ recovery,” said Balisacan.
In addition, Balisacan said the launch of BRIGADE project, short for Bid-Rigging Intelligence Gathering and Detection for Enforcement will strengthen anti-bid rigging efforts. In partnership with the Korean Government, PCC launched last month the BRIGADE project.
“We also expect to garner support for the establishment of an effective evidence collection method against public procurement bid-rigging. BRIGADE allows us to significantly improve our case-building capabilities and increase the number of bid-rigging prosecutions in the coming years. By protecting competition in the public procurement process, we can ensure effective and quality relief and recovery programs and guarantee that Filipinos get the best value for their taxes,” said Balisacan.