According to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the government seized 24.9 billion pesos worth of counterfeit goods in 2021.
“Our National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), chaired by IPOPHL as Vice-Chairman with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as Chair, has seen its largest seizure at a record-breaking 24.9 billion pesos in counterfeit goods, seized in its inspection and raid operations over the past year,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said during a virtual briefing on Thursday.
Mr Barba said the seizures were carried out in cooperation with other members of the NCIPR, such as the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
“This exceeds the value of goods worth 23.6 billion pesetas in 2018. The 2021 transport is also 110% higher than the 9.8 billion pesetas in 2020, showing a return to normal in our raids and searches ‘ said Mr Barba.
“We have targeted large warehouses and logistics centers in various cities, which have proven to be hotspots for counterfeit goods,” he added.
IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said goods seized in 2021 were led by counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol. Other forgeries seized included handbags, wallets and shoes.
According to Mr. Pascua, the proliferation of counterfeit items is due to demand.
“Without demand there is no supply. If the demand falls, the supply also falls. It’s very simple,” said Mr. Pascua.
Recently, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Privacy, which flagged vendors at Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City.
The USTR said that vendors at Greenhills Shopping Center are boldly “demonstrating and openly discussing the illegal nature of the counterfeit goods, rather than discreetly hiding the counterfeit goods under the counter as they have done in the past”.
“Many of the storefronts in this mall sell counterfeit goods including electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories and fashion items,” the USTR said.
Mr Barba said a technical working group has been formed to resolve the issue of counterfeit goods at Greenhills shopping centre, adding that there are plans to provide alternative livelihoods for those involved. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave