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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on July 21 signed two important, historic, and game-changing laws: the Philippine Competition Act and amendments to Cabotage Law.

In a ceremonial signing at Malacanang Palace, President Aquino approved the landmark Republic Act 10667, the Philippine Competition Act, giving the country its own law that will level the playing field for all businesses by penalizing anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players.

The Chief Executive also signed into law Republic Act 10668, the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, which will now allow foreign ships carrying imported cargo and cargo to be exported out of the country to dock in multiple ports. By signing the co-loading act, it effectively repealed the Cabotage Law that long hampered shipping of goods.

The Philippine Competition Act is considered the longest-running measure in Congress, taking 25 years before hurdling the legislative mill.

“The Philippine Competition Act will usher in a new era of doing business in the country,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, co-author and principal sponsor of the measure.

Under the law, a Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will be established with the Chief Executive appointing a chairperson, four commissioners and an executive director.

“Businesses, whether big or small, will now be on equal footing as the law penalizes anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players,” Aquino stressed, adding that cartels will also be eliminated under the law.

On the other hand, the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act will reduce logistics costs for producers, create a more efficient import and export system, and lead to lower prices for consumers. The law will also help in decongesting the major ports in the country.

With the approval of his two measures, Senator Aquino will have four laws to his credit. Last year, the President approved the Go Negosyo Act and the Philippine Lemon Law.

In addition, the President is also expected to sign the Youth Entrepreneurship Act soon, co-authored and principally sponsored by Sen. Bam, touted to be an effective tool to solve the growing number of jobless youths in the country, which currently stands at 1.32 million by including financial literacy and entrepreneurship courses in all levels of education to build an entrepreneurship culture among Filipinos.

Aquino’s campaign promises of spurring jobs and enterprise development, levelling the playing field, and ease of doing business were further fulfilled with these macro economic reforms together with the establishment of Negosyo Centers all over the country through the Go Negosyo Act.

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