NRG-I Meeting

Legaspi Village, Makati City, July 30, 2013

Need for a Comprehensive Competition Law in Philippines to Result in Benefits for the Consumers and Producers in Rice and Passenger Transport Sector

Legaspi Village, Makati City, July 30, 2013

Competition is multi-dimensional and there is a need to assess the state of competition in developing countries. The CUTS CREW project would not only identify impediments to competition but identify some of the key issues which are much broader and beyond the selected sectors under study: staple food (rice) and bus passenger transport, as stated by Mr. Shyam Khemani, Senior Advisor, CUTS International while delivering the opening address during the First National Reference Group (NRG) meeting held in Manila, Philippines on 30th July, 2013. Khemani further highlighted that it is important for Philippines to adopt a comprehensive competition law, so as to ensure benefits of competition to consumers and producers. With support from DFID (UK) and BMZ (Germany) facilitated by GIZ (Germany), CUTS International is implementing this project from November, 2012 over the period of three years in four countries: Ghana, India, The Philippines and Zambia.

The NRG is composed of multi-stakeholder experts and practitioners from various groups of competition scholars, practitioners and sectoral stakeholders comprising of 15 members in each of the project country. The objective of the First NRG meeting was to orient the members about the project and its progress, discuss and gather inputs about the methodology of Diagnostic Country Report (DCR) with particular reference to the Philippines, as explained by Rafaelita M. Aldaba, Vice President, PIDS.

Ruth U. Tan, State Counsel II, Department of Justice stated that there is a need to promote and protect competition in the Philippines and CREW project is one such initiative, which would initiate the momentum of competition reforms in developing countries. Mr. Roehlano M. Briones, Fellow II at PIDS stated in his presentation on the staple food sector that there exists a monopoly of National Food Authority (NFA) and there is a need to identify the ‘low hanging fruits’ to ensure effective competition reforms in this sector. As pointed out by Raul Montemayor, Federation of Free Farmers, it is important to study the whole value chain of rice, focus on the industry and what is the impact on the millers since there is stiff competition in rice sector. There is has been a huge increase in the smuggling and the issue of ratification is highly complicated and controversial. Despite NFAs control, inefficiency in the market is visible from the stage of paddy till it is brought in to Manila such as: lack of infrastructure, high cost of transportation which affects the price of rice. There is a need to fix these inefficiencies which would be the basis of liberalizing the market.

Rene Santiago from Federation for Economic Freedom stated that the transport sector is over surveyed and availability of data should not be a problem, further the sector is over-regulated and one should not focus on the institutional co-ordination issues in this sector instead focus on the concerns of the commuters and operators. It was also pointed out that there is too much of competition and there is a need to reduce competition by Raul Montemayor, Federation of Free Farmers. There has been deterioration in the quality of buses over a period of time, despite various operators and the main reason being that the fares are regulated stated Alex Yague, President, Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines.

In concluding remarks, Udai S. Mehta, Associate Director, CUTS International stated that the CREW Project is not an academic exercise instead it is one such study which aims at gathering evidences and quantify the same to demonstrate gains from competition reforms and use the outcomes for advocacy and generate awareness among various stakeholders.

For more information, please contact:

Rafaelita M. Aldaba, +639479947176,,
Udai S. Mehta, +91 9829285926,

What’s New

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