The proposal to amend R.A. 1180, otherwise known as the Retail Trade Nationalization
Act of 1954, was contentious as the shift from the protectionist to the liberalist mode was considered a drastic policy change. The proponents questioned the effectiveness as well as soundness of the law. They argued that the policy was outmoded, was not in tune with global capitalist development, and resulted in an inefficient industry. In the process, the stakeholders were drawn to two groups, those for liberalizing the retail trade and those for maintaining protectionism in the industry. The contradicting positions led to a passionate debate among the stakeholders and the policy actors. To understand the politics of policy change, several essential actors need to be examined: the context, the stakeholders and the cost and benefits equation, the rationale, the political resources and the concessions, and public perception. All these factors worked together to bring about the enactment of Retail Trade Liberalization Law or R.A. 8762 and the repeal of R.A. 1180. The experience illustrates the complexities of radical policy shift as well as the intricacies of policymaking in the Philippines.