L-R: Mergers and Acquisitions Office Director Atty. Krystal Lyn T. Uy; Commissioner; Amabelle C. Asuncion; Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan; Chief of Staff Atty. Ma. Leonila P. Papa
Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan (third from left)
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) presented its experiences and learnings on merger review during the 16th Session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Competition Law and Policy held in Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on July 5-7, 2017.
This year’s session centered around designs of merger control systems for small and young competition authorities, such as the PCC. “The design of a merger control regime should be adapted to the circumstances and needs of each jurisdiction. In the case of young and small competition authorities, it is also important to take into account financial and human resources constraints, lack of sufficient experience and lack of a competition culture,” said the IGE in a statement.
German cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was highly instrumental in the inclusion of the PCC at the recent IGE meet.
In his presentation, PCC Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan focused on the lack of a culture of competition in the Philippines as one of the primary stumbling blocks in fully enforcing merger control specified in the Philippine Competition Act of 2015.
“The Commission has encountered resistance from regulated entities, especially with respect to the disclosure of sensitive information to the PCC and the Commission’s ability to maintain the confidentiality of certain information submitted in relation to merger or acquisition notifications,” said Balisacan.
“We believe that in order to instill a healthy culture of competition, trust is key. We aim to ingrain a rational, consistent, and dependable system—one that all stakeholders can trust. We know this can be achieved through our policy on confidentiality, the security of our files, and the professionalism of our staff,” the PCC Chairman added.
Aside from the Philippines, competition regimes from Paraguay, Albania, Botswana, Egypt, and Kenya also presented their experiences on merger control.
The annual IGE event was conceptualized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to discuss ways of improving worldwide cooperation on competition policy implementation and enhancing convergence through dialogue.
Chairman Balisacan was joined by Commissioner Amabelle C. Asuncion, Spokesperson Atty. Leni Papa, and Mergers and Acquisitions Director Krystal Lyn Uy-Sia during the proceedings.