Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday vowed to help the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) revive the provision of intelligence funds in its 2023 budget.
This, as Marcos urged PCC to go after agricultural cartels, syndicates, and other anti-competitive behavior in the agriculture industry.
“Given the crying need for the relief in the midst of so many food shortages as well as spiraling food prices, sana tumutok kayo dun (hopefully you can focus on it) and we will consider and recommend another round of intel funds even if they’re very small at this point whatever we can afford should be devoted to providing food for our people at an expensive and reliable rate,” she told PCC Officer-in-Charge Johannes Bernabe during a budget hearing.
“For the suggestion to reinsert a modest amount for our intelligence fund, that would be useful particularly as we also now have an MOA [Memorandum of Agreement] with the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] which will allow us to pursue investigations more aggressively,” Bernabe responded.
When asked about its previous intelligence fund, the PCC official said the commission was approved with PHP5 million in 2020 which was not provided in the following years.
Bernabe said the 2020 intelligence fund was not utilized because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We could not actually use it for the investigators to go on the ground,” Bernabe recalled saying it was reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.
Marcos said instead of the telecoms and other sectors, the PCC needs to look into the constant reports of anti-competitive hoarding practices and other exploitative abuses in the agricultural and trading sector.
The PCC has PHP866 million worth of approved foreign-assisted projects and proposing to spend PHP508 million next year, more than PHP61 million lower than its approved budget this year.
It is an independent quasi-judicial body mandated to implement the national competition policy and enforce Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act which serves as the primary law for promoting and protecting market competition
Source: Philippines News Agency