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Gov’t marks biggest haul of fake goods in a decade

The government confiscated by end September this year a total of P17.9 billion worth of fake and counterfeit goods, most of which are cigarettes and cigarette paraphernalia.

This is according to a statement from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), whose top officials also held a press briefing on Monday.

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The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), whose members include the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), made several operations this year, raiding factories and warehouses.

The nine-month haul marked the biggest in the decade-long history of the committee, said the IPOPHL, which leads the NCIPR.

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More than 80 percent of the total, or P15.5 billion, are cigarettes and cigarette paraphernalia. Cheaper, yet fake goods, entered the market amid higher tax rates slapped on sin products.

The spike in seized goods came as the prices of cigarettes increased under the first tax reform package of the Duterte administration.

“The staggering amount of fake and counterfeit goods in the nine months of the year is [historic],” said IPOPHL Director General Josephine Santiago.

“Similar to the Department of Finance’s observation, the increase in seizures of counterfeit cigarettes may have been due to the increase in the prices of cigarettes in the marketplace,” said IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro Pascua.

A single operation in August yielded P8 billion worth of fake cigarette stamps and other goods in a warehouse in Quezon City, IPOPHL said.

The committee also seized pharmaceutical and personal care products worth P1.2 billion.

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