Rizal Hall, Malacañang
21 July 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law two of his priority economic bills: the Philippine Competition Act (R.A. 10667) and the amendments to the Cabotage Law during a ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.

After more than two decades since the Competitive Bill had been stalled in Congress, Senator Bam Aquino, principal author of the Senate Bill 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014, said that the passage was “historic and game-changing for our economy” as it also supports two prohibited acts — the dominant position and anti-competitive agreements—both considered a criminal offense. Among the salient features stipulated include the formation of the Philippine Competition Commission which will implement the Philippine Competition Act. The Commission is also tasked to investigate any violation of the act, issue guidelines on competition matters, and monitor and analyze the practice of competition in markets.

Another landmark measure signed into law by the President is the amendment on the Philippine Cabotage Law (R.A. 10668) which had been lifted from the Tariff and Custom Code of 1978. Under the amended Cabotage Law, foreign shipping vessels will be granted entry to any port in the Philippines to co-load foreign cargoes for domestic transshipment, thereby lowering tariff taxes imposed on imported and exported goods. This will also rid the shipping industry of monopolistic market, leveling the playing field and intensify international trade in the country.

According to President Aquino, the passage of the two bills into laws resonate the Philippine invitation to foreign investors that the country is now ‘open for business,’ adding that the two laws will not only bolster the country’s economic gains, but will ensure local consumers of quality goods and services under a competitive market.

“Sa pamamagitan nga po ng dalawang panukalang batas na pinagtitibay natin sa araw na ito, tinatanggal natin ang mga baluktot na kalakarang dulot ng kawalan ng kumpetisyon, na walang nadadalang pakinabang sa ating mamamayan,” the President said.

Joining him onstage for the signing were Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Acting Senate Minority Floor Leader Senator Vicente Sotto III, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Senator Cynthia Villar, Mandaluyong City Lone District and Majority Floor Leader Representative Neptali Gonzales II, Las Piñas Lone District and Chairperson of House Committee on Trade and Industry Representative Mark Villar and Quirino Lone District and Senior Vice Chairperson of House Committee on Economic Affairs Representative Dakila Carlo Cua.

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