By Kris Crismundo

COUNTERFEIT. Fake goods are being destroyed at Camp Crame in Quezon City in an undated photo. The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) seized a total of PHP26.68 billion worth of counterfeit goods in 2023. (File photo)

MANILA – The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) reported on Friday the value of seized counterfeit goods in 2023 hit a record-high of PHP26.86 billion.

These fake goods confiscated by the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) last year surged by 183 percent from PHP9.49 billion worth of seized counterfeits in 2022.

IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba attributed the record-high value of confiscated counterfeit goods to NCIPR’s increased operations.

“With more aggressive and strategic efforts, coupled with its swift coordination with the team and with IP rights holders, the NCIPR members were able to ensure the success of its seizure operations,” Barba said.

IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office Supervising Director Christine Pangilinan-Canlapan said “a significant number of seizures does not exclusively signify increased counterfeit trade in the country.”

“Relative to other nations that have low to zero values in counterfeit goods, a higher value of goods can simply mean we are doing our part in conducting seizure operations, that our close coordination with IP rights holders is bearing fruit in intercepting counterfeit trade and that we are transparent to the public about our operations,” Pangilinan-Canlapan added.

IPOPHL said 94 percent, or PHP25 billion, of the seized goods last year were from Bureau of Customs (BOC) operations.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confiscated a total of PHPP1.2 billion; the Philippine National Police (PNP), with a PHP285.93 million value; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with a PHP1.58-million value; and the Optical Media Board (OMB), with a PHP221,500 haul.

“Counterfeit products do not only harm our economy but also pose serious health risks, particularly with essentials like food, medicines and cosmetics. I appeal to consumers to turn away from these fakes and choose genuine, locally-made products, ensuring their hard-earned money brings real value and supports our community,” Trade Secretary and NCIPR Chairman Alfredo Pascual said.

“The NCIPR’s role is crucial for our economic progress. By eliminating illegal goods like counterfeits, markets operate fairly and safely, boosting consumer confidence and investor trust. Our zero-tolerance for illegal acts against IP infringement safeguards business creativity and innovation,” he added. (PNA)