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Fake cigar accounts for bulk of P18-B counterfeit goods

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By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Value of seized fake goods in the January-September period this year reached P17.9 billion, the highest in a decade, with counterfeit cigarettes accounting for more than 80 percent or P15.5 billion of total, according to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

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Josephine R. Santiago, IPOPHL director-general, said the huge haul showed a dramatic 840 percent growth versus P1.9-billion confiscated items in the same first three quarters of 2017. In the entire of 2017, the National Committee on IP-Related Right (NCIPR) reported total seized counterfeit items of P8.2 billion.

“This is the highest take in the decade-long history of the inter government agency NCIPR which was established in 2008,” said Santiago.

Santiago cited the several operations by the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Customs in raiding factories and warehouses that stored cases of fake cigarette packs bearing the brand names and related equipment.

IPOPHL Deputy Director-General Teodoro C. Pascua said most of the counterfeit cigarette were mostly the brands of Mighty Corp.

Pascua echoed the observation of the Department of Finance that the increase in seizures of fake cigarettes may have been due to the increase in the prices of cigarettes in the marketplace, as well as the more active efforts against the spread of counterfeit goods pressed by the NCIPR.

“This pressing challenge is not only our concern as the agency leading campaign against piracy and counterfeiting but more so for the Department of Finance who are impeded to effectively collect taxes for the nation’s coffers,” said Pascua.

The first substantial take of cigarettes and cigarette production paraphernalia was first reported in February with the P5 billion worth of seized goods in single operation alone. In May, another P1.8 billion worth of the same products were seized in several operations.

The biggest single biggest net was the single operation in August that yielded a whopping P8 billion of fake cigarette stamps and other goods (used clothing and rice) in a warehouse in Quezon City.

Santiago explained that the value of fake goods confiscated fluctuates every year and it usually depends on the class of goods and the market value of the original goods in the formal economy.

Aside from cigarettes, the next biggest haul came were pharmaceutical/personal care products valued at P1.2 billion.

This was followed by optical media (P490 million), handbags/wallets (P450 million), footwear (P82.8 million), computers/accessories (P75 million), wearing apparel/accessories (P15.5 million), food, seasoning (P2.9 million), watches/jewelry P1.8 million) and others (P32.2 million).

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