Recently I came across complaints and notes concerning how prices of food and beverages, basic commodities, and communication costs rise rapidly. The same with medicines and construction materials.

I got informal briefings too from some government procurement specialists on how project bids in several national and local government units are easily cornered by who they call “favored contractors,” or those providing big bribes to project owners and other small players or the “unfavored contractors.”

I am not surprised, actually. I just further affirmed my earlier research on the existence of cartel in almost all industries. 

Websites refer to cartel as alliance, league, interest group, monopoly, empire, or what some in their circles call “the big boys club.”

Various scholars and professional business groups define cartel as a group of independent corporations or entities that join together purposely to control the flow of goods and services in the markets and specific industries, fix prices, and rig bids.

In today’s societies of interlocking businesses, technology-driven, and cashless transactions, the presence of cartels is often blurred, confused, and thus ignored.

But their operations are felt everywhere and anywhere, they are practically omnipotent.

In the food and beverage business, medical and pharmaceutical industry, communication and information technology, transportation world, bank and finance system, and construction and supply industry,  the cartel is present and so powerful to be regulated or stopped.

Cartel in many countries is considered illegal because they stifle free and fair competition, undermine and dictate economies, and create controlled states.

But why do they continue to thrive and grow into bigger cartels or monopolies? Cartels practically control the state system that is supposed to enforce free and fair competition.

They regularly give big bribes to agencies’ officials, bureaucrats, politicians, and all their clandestine thugs in exchange for juicy projects. They even put up so-called investments to buy positions and officials in important offices, and proposed laws, to ensure their illegal activities continue unobstructed.

In some cases, the most brutal among the cartels is buying, threatening, and even eliminating potential competitors.

Well, there are endless tales of the cartel stories, and burning sentiments on how the government is rendered inutile in controlling, regulating, or putting an end to the cartel’s violent life.

This could be a good agenda for those who advocate system reforms and change.

Meantime, I am saddened that cartel culture is now embedded in the hearts and minds of many of our citizens and interest groups.

They create their little cartel to protect their interests and those, they are beholden for their survival and rise to the social ladder.


Kudos to the newly-inducted officers of the Negros Press Club. May your tribe increase its commitment to the truth, justice, and democracy in our troubled and plundered nation.*


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