Steadfast Amidst the Crisis: The 2020 Year-end Report of the Philippine Competition Commission
PCC 2020 YEAR-END REPORT
For Immediate Release
05 January 2021
Steadfast amid the Crisis: The 2020 Year-end Report of the
Philippine Competition Commission
Arsenio M. Balisacan, PhD
Unprecedented. This sums up 2020 on almost all fronts, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant crises and challenges. The pandemic has adversely affected consumer demand, business operations, employment, and the government’s fiscal position, posing a difficult challenge to policymakers on how to bring about economic recovery while containing the disease and saving lives.
Yet, despite the tumultuous past months, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has steadfastly carried on with its mandates, achieving significant goals. It has remained proactive in its advocacies and vigilant in protecting market competition. Allow me to report on our achievements in 2020 and share our priorities in 2021.
A More Robust Competition Regime amid the Crisis
The pandemic has upended both the global and domestic economies in ways nobody expected. For 2020, the World Bank estimated the global economy to shrink by 5.2%. Before the pandemic, the Philippine economy was projected to grow by 6.6% and sustain its high-growth trajectory as in the past few years. Now, World Bank’s latest estimates show that the country’s gross domestic product in 2020 will fall by 8.1%.
Given the current economic crisis, some might ask: Is competition policy relevant at this time? The simple and straightforward answer is yes, now more than ever.
The pandemic-induced recession has heightened the risk of anti-competitive behavior as firms struggle to cope with narrower margins. Firm closures and increased appetite for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) may also cause market power to become even more concentrated. Even government responses to the crisis may themselves have unintended anti-competitive effects. All these can exacerbate the already significant economic losses from the pandemic as inequality worsens and the playing field is further distorted, especially for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Lessened competition, increased capacity of dominant players to abuse market power, and distorted market structures also stifle long-term prospects for innovation, growth, and consumer welfare.
Hence, having a more robust competition regime has become even more relevant and critical now to protect Filipino consumers and businesses alike and ultimately ensure a durable and inclusive recovery. We at the PCC fully recognize this crucial responsibility.