The Philippine Competition Commission has expressed support to the move of the Department of Trade and Industry to deregulate prices by removing the suggested retail prices of certain goods and commodities.
“For the longest time, the DTI through the National Price Coordinating Council, has been setting prices that guide both consumers and suppliers. But now that we have the Philippine Competition Act, we support DTI in its efforts to promote industry efficiency and consumer welfare by allowing market forces to dictate the prices of goods instead of issuing Suggested Retail Prices or SRPs,” PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said.
The Philippine Competition Act prohibits businesses to collectively fix, directly or indirectly, purchase or selling prices or impose other trading conditions that substantially prevent, restrict or lessen competition.
PCC said the current practice of approving SRPs might potentially be an anti-competition act that should be studied considering the nature, conduct or performance of each industry, as well as other factors affecting the prices of goods and services.
PCC will look into price movements whether they are simply reflecting basic supply and demand forces or if they redound anti-competitive practices.
“When prices move, we must assess if the movement is due to certain changes in the market, say, changes of condition of inputs, or if the movement reflects collectively organized or coordinated efforts like collusions or cartels,” Balisacan said.
PCC plans to strike a partnership with DTI, aside from other regulatory agencies in pursuit of its mandate.
“The PCC and DTI are in the process of drafting a memorandum of agreement toward a partnership leading to effective enforcement of the competition policy, thereby advancing consumer welfare,” Balicasan said.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the department would still monitor prices of basic commodities in the market.
“Right now it will be the company who will put the suggested retail price,” Lopez said.