PH targets P13B counterfeit goods to seize in 2015

MANILA, Philippines – More than P13 billion ($287.57 million) worth of counterfeit and pirated products are targeted to be seized by Philippine authorities this year.

The authorities will mainly be targeting luxury designer bags and watches, depending on the retail price of the original item, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Officer-in-Charge Allan Gepty said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Slingshot Manila 2015 on Tuesday, July 7.

“Our working target for the year is to at least maintain or surpass P13 billion ($287.57 million) worth of counterfeit, fake goods seized," Gepty said.

In the first 6 months of 2015, Philippine authorities have seized about P775 million ($17.15 million) worth of counterfeit and pirated compact discs (CDs), digital video discs (DVDs), books, medicine, designer bags, shoes, and other items.

“We’ve heard that in Mindanao, there are lots of counterfeit medicines. So now, we’re running a full blast educational campaign,” Gepty said.

The estimated P775 million ($17.15 million) is just based on the partial submission by 3 government agencies, such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB), and the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gepty said.

“It seems low because the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) and Bureau of Customs data are not included yet,” he added.

According to the IPOPHL official, the NBI confiscated the highest value of counterfeit and fake goods in the first half of the year with P450 million ($9.95 million). This was followed by OMB with P300 million ($6.63 million) and PNP with P25 million ($552,701).

Gepty said his office will try to match 2014’s catch of more than P12 billion ($265.24 million) worth of illegal products, and continue IPOPHL’s information campaign about piracy and counterfeiting.

“Although we are expecting a surge in luxury apparel and watches, IPOPHL is focused on public health and safety so we're continuously going to universities nationwide to inform them the dangers of counterfeit drugs,” Gepty said.

Legitimate business across several industries, like the music and movie sectors, are being indirectly hurt by the illegal trade.

Seized illegal products have gone up in the last 5 years. – Rappler.com

$1=P45.22

Fake designer bags image from Shutterstock / Ian Law