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P5.3 B worth of fake goods – mostly cigarettes – seized in Q1

Most fake or counterfeit goods confiscated by the government in the first quarter of the year worth at least P5.3 billion were cigarettes and cigarette production equipment, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said.

In a statement on Wednesday, IPOPHL said the value of the seized goods in the first three months of the year has already reached more than half of the total value of fake goods confiscated for the entire year in 2017, which reached P8.2 billion.

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The spike this quarter – a triple-digit growth from the same period last year – was primarily attributed to the P5 billion worth of cigarettes and cigarette production paraphernalia seized by the government.

According to IPOPHL, these were mostly the products seized by the Philippine National Police from a factory in Bulacan in February.

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READ: Bulacan factory shuttered for fake Philip Morris, Mighty cigarettes

The Department of Finance (DOF) has previously linked the rise of cigarette smuggling to higher prices under the TRAIN law and the exit of a former major player, Mighty Corp., from the market.

IPOPHL Director General Josephine Santiago said the latest figure does not include yet the value of fake goods seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which routinely impounds a substantial amount of fake goods from the country’s gateways.

Even then, at P5.3 billion, the value of such illicit goods in the first quarter of this year grew 498 percent from the same period last year, which only reached P886 million.

“With this strong showing in enforcement of IP [intellectual property] rights, we believe we can surpass the P8.2 billion in fake and counterfeit items gotten in 2017,” she said.

The PNP accounted for the lion share of the seized goods in the first quarter. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Optical Media Board (OMB) confiscated P209 million and P103 million worth of goods, respectively.

The BOC has yet to submit its enforcement data. /ee

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TAGS: Counterfeit goods, fake cigarettes, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), Philippine news updates
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