PCC expects not on time rulings for clinical products and services, tourism circumstances

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said it needs to delay rulings on active cases involving the medical services and tourism industries, due to the large number of respondents to be processed.

On the other hand, it expects to resolve by the end of the year active enforcement cases involving property developers who steer tenants to certain internet services; trade associations; cement; and insurance.

Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe, PCC officer-in-charge chairman, said in an interview on the sidelines of the East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy in Makati City last week that the delayed resolutions represent a downgrade in the PCC’s estimate of completed enforcement actions to four by the end of the year from six.

The six-ruling target had been announced in July.

“We are having challenges on the cases related to medical services and tourism since they both have multiple respondents… When we have many respondents, we have to serve the summons to each one of them to inform that there’s a complaint against their behavior. Then the PCC will wait for their answer, so it takes time,” Mr. Bernabe said.  

“We have scarce resources which are being shared across various projects. However, adjudication is our priority. That is our job. That is our main focus,” he added.

Mr. Bernabe said the PCC is expected to issue more notices of investigation following the lowering of the threshold for the mandatory reporting of mergers and acquisitions.

“There are pre-notification consultations going on, which are entities asking if they’re captured by the reversion to the more reasonable amount of the threshold. So, we would expect that there will be notifications coming in consistently again,” Mr. Bernabe said.  

“No updates has been made known to the commission as (of) yet, but I understand that the mergers and acquisitions office is beginning to buzz again,” he added.

The PCC implemented the provisional thresholds beginning Sept. 16.

Mergers and acquisitions that reach a size of party (SoP) of P6.1 billion and a size of transaction (SoT) of P2.5 billion are required to give notice to the PCC for mandatory review.

“The SoP refers to the aggregate value of assets or revenue in the Philippines of the ultimate parent entity of one of the parties to a transaction, while the SoT refers to the value of assets or revenue of the acquired entity and the entities it controls,” the PCC said.  

The previous thresholds for SoP and SoT were P50 billion under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan II Law, which expired on Sept. 15.

“These thresholds will remain effective until the approval of the Commission en banc of new thresholds for compulsory notification,” the PCC said.

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