Aug 032016

MANILA, Philippines – Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tomasito Villarin has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry on the review currently being undertaken by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) involving a P70-billion telecommunications deal.

House Resolution 93 hopes to direct the Committee on Trade and Industry to conduct an inquiry on the PCC’s review of PLDT and Globe Telecom’s joint purchase of the telecommunications business of San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

“There is a need for Congress to determine whether the PCC is sufficiently empowered by current statutes to withstand harassment suits in fulfilling their mandate or if there is a need for remedial legislation so that it carry-out its functions more effectively,” the resolution said.

“Any duopolistic tendencies must not be allowed so that the consumers will be protected and new market players capable of providing better service to end-users will not be dissuaded from doing business in the Philippines. There is also a need for the public, how ordinary consumers and users will be affected by this transaction in the years to come,” it added.

The PCC earlier said Globe and PLDT refused to comply when the anti-trust body requested for additional information on the key terms of the telco transaction, thereby preventing the PCC from granting it a deemed-approved status.

The P70-billion transaction covered the purchase of the entire equity interest in SMC’s Vega Telecom Inc., New Century Telecoms Inc. and eTelco Inc., with PLDT and Globe getting 50 percent each.

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PLDT and Globe, however, maintained their position that they fully and diligently complied with the notice requirements of the PCC’s transitory circulars and have filed separate lawsuits to block the review of the deal.

The Court of Appeals in a decision late last month denied Globe’s application for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against PCC’s review of its transaction with PLDT and SMC.

 “The review is ongoing but we can’t say when it will be completed. I can’t tell specifics because of the ongoing case. The review will determine the extent of what will be done, but for now I can’t say much until the review is completed,” PCC chair Arsenio Balisacan said in an interview Tuesday.

The House Resolution said the Congress and government regulators must assure millions of mobile phone subscribers that the state will not tolerate any uncompetitive practices in the telecommunications industry.

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