The Department of Justice Office for Competition (DOJ – OFC) successfully completed the first Consumer and Business Forum on Competition Policy and Law on 8 November 2012 to introduce the country’s competition regime and as a kick-off activity in preparation for the 1st National Competition Day to be observed on 05 December 2012.
The event aimed to increase awareness on the importance of a competition mindset to reap the benefits of competition in a globalizing economy.
“Economic justice is a cornerstone of the enforcement of the rule of law,” said Secretary Leila M. De Lima. “We need to develop a strong consciousness for consumers to stand up for their rights and for government to do its part,” she said.
An introduction to competition policy and law and case studies on anti-competitive practices were among the topics discussed. DOJ Assistant Secretary outlined the remedies available for consumers and business and the way forward in the protection of consumer rights.
“By 2013, we intend to develop a voluntary compliance program with business, whether multinationals or SMEs,” said Asec Sy.
Mr. John Forbes, Senior Adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines calls for similar fora in the future saying, “This is an extra-initiative of the DOJ-OFC which should be repeated so that more representatives and more business organizations be exposed to the principles of the Executive Order and more prepared for its enforcement and future enactment.”
Atty. Rufino M. Margate, Jr., Secretary General, Federation of Philippine Industries appreciates the efforts of the DOJ. “It is a good move for the DOJ because it allows the business organizations to air their concerns in the hope that the DOJ would ventilate these concerns in the House of Representatives and in the Senate,” said Atty. Margate.
Executive Director David S. Mascenon of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (BCCP) said, “I am very encouraged by the forum in terms of knowing the way the policy is being shaped. This consultation process with business organizations is very helpful and shows that the DOJ is prepared to be conclusive in the way the policy is being shaped.”
Among the participants are: Institute of Small-Scale Industries (University of the Philippines), Advertising Board of the Philippines, National Consumer Affair Council, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Philippine Association of Supermarkets, Inc., Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Sugar Millers Association, Royal Cargo Combined Logistics, Inc., Business chambers like the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).