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PCC probing high onion prices for possible cartel

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Thursday said it has launched an investigation on the spike in the prices of onion seen in late December last year for possible anti-competitive practices.

In a statement, the PCC said that since November 2022 it has been investigating the high prices of onion for possible cartel or abuse of dominance conduct.

The antitrust watchdog said its investigation is consistent with the probe prompted by House Speaker Martin Romualdez and House Resolution No. 681 filed by Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo.

The PCC launched its market assessment as the onion retail prices have been observed at unusual high range and peaked at over P600 per kilo in December last year.

To recall, in late December 2022, the price of red onions jacked up to over P700 per kilo in some Metro Manila market amid a local supply deficiency of the commodity.

“As prices are seen to stabilize due to the imports and the SRP (suggested retail price) set last February 6, the PCC is looking into the cause of such market anomaly in coordination with the sector regulators and other law enforcement agencies,” the antitrust body said.

Under the Philippine Competition Act (PCA), businesses who will be found to have taken advantage of the situation may be fined up to P100 million, and even face jail time of up to seven years, it said.

The PCC said fines may even be tripled if trade of basic necessities, including agricultural products identified by the Price Act, are involved in cartel or abuse of dominance violations.—AOL, GMA Integrated News