THE Bureau of Customs has destroyed P3 billion worth of counterfeit products seized at a warehouse in Tondo, Manila early this year.
Hundreds of boxes containing items such as fake lotions, perfume, shampoo, make-up and lipstick, and one labeling machine bearing the brand names of Gio Armani, Dior, Olay, Nivea, Cetaphil, and other signature brands were crushed, poured, and shredded in an accredited condemnation facility owned by Tritek Reverse Logistics Corp. located at San Pedro in Laguna.
Officials of the bureau’s Enforcement and Security Service said Thursday the fake goods were among those intercepted during a warehouse raid at Unit 8-1, 10-A, 10-B, Vicente Tower, 1275 Dagupan Street, Tondo.
The operation stemmed from the investigation by ESS agents and surveillance in the warehouse.
The products were seized in February and consequently forfeited last June 27 by the Office of the District Collector of the Port of Manila.
The seized fake goods violated Section 1113 (f) and (l) of the CMTA and Section 118(f) of the same Act, in relation to Section 166 of RA 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).
Pursuant to Section 1146 of the CMTA, all prohibited goods like counterfeit goods shall be destroyed.
“Our crackdown against fake products is going well. However, the public must be made aware that continued patronage and exposure to counterfeit items pose health risks to the user,” said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña Jr.
He added “the items we destroyed today bears the same brand but the quality and the materials or chemicals used are different. These are substandard products and did not undergo quality control and safety inspection.”
Lapena noted that fake products continued to undermine the legitimate brand owners in the country.
“We are receiving reports from brand owners that are greatly affected by the proliferation of fake items. We must promote a healthy competition in the market,” he added.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said counterfeit commodity was a serious concern not only because of its negative effect on the country’s reputation but also because of the way it discourages brand owners from investing in the country.
IPOPHL is the government agency mandated to implement policies on intellectual property under Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code signed in February 2013.
It also oversees the inter-agency task force National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights composed of the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs, Philippine National Police, Optical Media Board, Department of Justice, Department of Trade and Industry, and Food and Drug Administration, among others.
IPOPHL records showed that branded goods like bags, shoes and slippers are products mostly subject to piracy while food and medicines are increasingly gaining share of the counterfeit market.
It also showed that food products such as seasoning and personal care products like shampoo and conditioner as well as health products like medicines had been proliferating in the Philippines.
Those found guilty of violating the copyright law could face a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to P150,000 for the first offense; up to six-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of P500,000 for the second offense; and up to nine-year imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million for subsequent offenses.
The United States in April 2014 removed the Philippines from the watchlist of countries with weak enforcement on intellectual property rights and patents.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative said it removed the Philippines from the Special 301 watchlist, where the country had been included since 1994.
In 2007, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo authorized Customs to organize a special team through Executive Order 736, which creates the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights. Arroyo signed EO 736, which also mandated law enforcement agencies and government offices to set up their own IPR protection units.