Gov’t hauls in P8.8B worth of pirated, fake goods in H1

AUTHORITIES SEIZED P8.8 billion worth of pirated and counterfeit goods in the first half of 2018, nearly six times the P1.4 billion value in the same period a year ago.
The January to June performance also surpassed the 2017 total of P8.2 billion, according to a report released on Thursday by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
IPOPHL’s operations are undertaken with the inter-agency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR).
“With this substantial take, we are reasonably optimistic that our goal to surpass the record high of 2014 of P13 billion worth of fake and counterfeit products is within reach,” said IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago in the statement.
Of the goods seized, cigarettes and alcohol comprised the bulk at 78%, valued at P6.8 billion.
Pharmaceutical and personal care products followed at P 1.2 billion. Fake handbags and wallets came in third, with the NCIPR seizing P450 million worth.
Of the NCIPR enforcement agencies, the Philippine National Police (PNP) accounted for the lion’s share of the haul at 72% or P6.3 billion.
The Bureau of Customs captured 24% or P2 billion, while the National Bureau of Investigation confiscated P266 million, and the Optical Media Board had P103 million.
“Surpassing the full-year 2017 seizure is a matter of course given IPOPHL and NCIPR’s intensified campaign to curb the spread of fake goods since the beginning of the year. Any form of piracy is damaging not only to the local economy but also to the industries we cultivate, as well as the investors with valuable intellectual property, and the government which loses revenue with these fake goods,” Ms. Santiago said.
She noted the impact of these goods are far beyond the economic scope as these can compromise the health and safety of users.
Ms. Santiago added that counterfeiting is being used by organized criminal syndicates to fund their operations.
The value of fake goods confiscated by the government fluctuates every year and it depends on the class of goods and the market value of the original goods in the formal economy. — Janina C. Lim

Palace tells Lim: Surrender and have your day in court

MALACAÑANG ON Thursday asked alleged drug lord Peter Go Lim to surrender.
“We are asking Peter Lim, please surrender. If you are innocent, prove your innocence in court. You will be given your day in court. I’ve just asked him to surrender,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing at the Palace.
He added: “I’m not appealing. I’m just saying if you don’t surrender, we will still get you but if you are innocent then we guarantee that you will be given your day in court.”
Mr. Roque noted that the Philippines has “proven to the world that we have an independent judiciary and you have nothing to fear by way of being a victim of injustice. We have competent courts, so I think he should surrender.”
The Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO-7) confirmed on Wednesday that Mr. Lim is no longer in Cebu, where he resides and has several businesses.
PRO-7 Director Debold M. Sinas said Mr. Lim left the province even before the arrest warrant was issued, but the suspect could still be in the country.
“He is somewhere in Metro Manila,” Mr. Sinas said.
The police is working with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in tracking Mr. Lim’s whereabouts.
Mr. Lim and several others are facing charges for conspiracy, sale, trading administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, and transportation of dangerous drugs filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Crime Investigations Unit. — Arjay L. Balinbin with a report from The Freeman