The Philippines has a wide range of laws and statutes that deal with the various aspects of competition law such as monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade, restrictive business practices, price control measures and consumer protection. In fact, the concept of anti-trust regulation or competition policy is not new to the Philippines. Old anti-trust provisions of US laws (e.g., Sherman and Clayton Acts) found their way into the Philippines Constitution, the Revised Penal Code and the Civil Code.
The Philippines Constitution prohibits and regulates monopolies, combinations in restraint of trade and other unfair trade practices. Under the Constitution, monopolies are not illegal in themselves as opposed to combinations in restraint of trade and other unfair competition practices that are prohibited without exception. But since the Constitution does not define what would constitute unlawful monopolies, or combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition practices, separate legislation/or case laws are the basis for making such definitions.
The Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes anticompetitive behavior that is criminal in nature. The Civil Code of the Philippiness allows the collection of damages arising from unfair competition as well as abuse of dominant positions by a monopolist.
The Act to Prohibit Monopolies and Combinations in Restraint of Trade allows damages for civil liability arising from anticompetitive behavior. There are also special laws and statutes enacted to specifically address unfair competition practices. These include:
The Corporation of the Philippiness (1980)
It covers rules on mergers, consolidations and acquisitions. The law, however, does not address competition issues such as the possible abuse of dominant positions arising from mergers and acquisitions.
The Revised Securities Act (1982)
The Act prohibits and penalizes the manipulation of security prices and insider trading.
The Price Act (1992):
It defines and identifies illegal acts of price manipulation such as hoarding, profiteering and cartels. Through price controls and mandated ceiling mechanisms, the Act also aims to stabilize prices of basic commodities and prescribes measures against abusive price increases during emergencies and other critical situations.
The Consumer Act of the Philippiness (1992)
The Act prescribes conduct for business and industry. It sets penalties for deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales practices to protect and promote the interest of consumers. It also covers consumer product quality and safety standards.
The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippiness (1997)
The Act provides for the protection of patents, trademarks and copyrights and the corresponding penalties for infringement.
The Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998
The Act liberalizes and deregulates the downstream oil industry to ensure a truly competitive market, encourage entry of new players to the industry. It introduced measures to achieve these objectives, notably the provision of anti-trust safeguards meant to ensure fair competition and prevent cartels.
The Anti-Dumping Act of 1999
The Act provides for the protection of Filipino enterprises against unfair competition and trade practices.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001
The Act provides for the restructuring of the electric power industry, including the privatization of the assets of the National Power Corporation, the transition to the desired competitive structure, and the definition of the responsibilities of the various government agencies and private entities.