Philippines: Case against garlic cartel

President Aquino has directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a case against the cartel responsible for the steep increase in the prices of garlic in the middle of the year and looks forward to “charges being filed sooner.”

In a speech read by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima at the 1st National Competition Conference at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Aquino said the Office for Competition (OFC) under the DOJ is responsible for investigating the staggering 74 percent increase in the price of garlic from June 2013 to June 2014.

According to Aquino, the OFC discovered that the drastic increase in garlic prices could not be attributed to a shortage in supply, but rather to a single group that was on the receiving end of import permits, allowing them to corner supply and dictate the prices of garlic.

This initial report allowed authorities to look into more anomalous transactions and in light of their findings, the President ordered the DOJ to develop a case against the cartel.

Aquino added that competition policies are one of the ways to protect the interest of people, specifically their rights as consumers.

The President said the playing field could only be considered truly leveled when a company’s share of the market was determined primarily by their ability to innovate and by their drive to provide the best quality services and products at a right price. “Unfortunately, that is not always the case.”


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