Date
15 December 2017
Philippines will grant amnesty for individuals who reveal information on price-fixing and other anti-competitive practices by businesses, said Arsenio Balisacan, chief of the nation's antitrust body. Photo: Philippines Govt.
Philippines will grant amnesty for individuals who reveal information on price-fixing and other anti-competitive practices by businesses, said Arsenio Balisacan, chief of the nation's antitrust body. Photo: Philippines Govt.

Philippines turns to whistle-blowers in fight against cartels

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will recruit whistle-blowers to report anti-competitive practices like price-fixing, the agency’s chairman said on Wednesday.

The antitrust body will grant individuals immunity from prosecution and exempt them from fines in exchange for information on fixing prices and imposing barriers to entry, Arsenio Balisacan told Bloomberg.

“We need to coordinate, cooperate and collaborate,” Balisacan was quoted as saying in an interview in Manila.

The extent of the amnesty for whistle-blowers will depend on data and documents provided and the timing of reporting.

Individuals who disclose information during an ongoing investigation will receive less of a reprieve than those flagging details at the onset.

Possible anti-competitive practices in shipping, toll operations, telecommunications, and agriculture will be the focus in the coming months, Balisacan said.

“We’re hoping that businesses will recognize and render respect to the competition authority by complying with the law instead of challenging our acts,” he said.

“They should recognize that it’s in the interest of everyone.”

According to the report, PCC is investigating the power generation and cement industries following complaints of alleged collusion among the players.

The antitrust body is struggling as it faces off against wealthy, politically-connected families that dominate the business landscape, Bloomberg noted.

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