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publication March 4, 2019

Fostering Competition in the Philippines: The Challenge of Restrictive Regulation



  • The Philippines’ economic outlook remains strong. Nevertheless, limited competition in key economic sectors has been consistently identified as a constraint to the creation of more and better jobs and faster poverty alleviation.
  • Market competition in sectors critical for firms to enter and thrive is limited, stemming from unequal and discretionary application of policies and overly-restrictive regulations.
  • Data show that the Philippine economy is more concentrated than other countries in the region, with a higher proportion of monopoly, duopoly, and oligopoly markets.
  • While concentration might naturally result from the market conditions, these structures can be more prone to collusion and abuse of market power – abetted by a plethora of restrictive regulations and other restrictions.
  • These restrictions include state ownership and involvement in business operations; complex regulatory procedures and administrative burdens on start-up businesses; and barriers to trade and investments, including foreign equity investments.
  • Removing these restrictive regulations could add at least 0.2 percentage points to the growth of the Philippine economy every year.