MANILA—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) confiscated counterfeit apparels and other products with an estimated value of P200-million in simultaneous raids on three buildings located at Cuneta Avenue, Pasay City on Thursday.
Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon reported that the busts were part of BOC’s stringent counter-measures against all forms of smuggling of fake products into the country in grave violations of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines and RA 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016.
“Our relentless campaigns against smuggling of products with faked brand names keep the Philippines out of the notorious list of countries with inadequate protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to date.
“Keeping out from the IP watchlist gives an improved confidence of foreign investors, especially US businesses, on the Philippines as required by the World TradeOrganization’s rule-based trade IP system.
“Furthermore, it underscores effective protection to Filipino consumers,” Faeldon said.
BOC’s official spokesperson Col. Neil Anthony L. Estrella, concurrent director of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) reported that the raids were conducted in One Logistics Building and in YS Building located along Cuneta Avenue, Pasay City.
Estrella said combined agents of the CIIS and of the Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) supported by local police and barangay officials were armed with Letter of Authority (LOA) numbered 63-01-96-2017 signed by Faeldon on March 1, 2017, in that simultaneous operations.
In One Losgistics Building, at least 21 stalls/doors at 3rd, 5th, and 6th floors were opened and discovered positive to contain counterfeited apparels with brand names: Nike, Adidas, Armou All, Vans, Lacoste, with an estimated value of more or less P100 million.
At YS Building, some 11 stalls/doors were uncovered to stash clothing apparel with brand names: Jag, Wrangler, Under Armour, Superman, NBA, also valued at more or less PHP100 million.
“We conducted these raids to enforce the law and protect Filipino consumers from the bad economic effects of smuggling counterfeit products.
“It is assumed that owners of the smuggled counterfeit apparels and other products have deliberately avoided to pay taxes to the government,” Estrella said.
A certain James Chua, Estrella introduced himself as the owner of YS building that BOC will require to provide documentary evidences of lawful importation of apparels caught stored in his property within 15 days.
“If he and the owners of counterfeit clothing in One Logistics Building will not be able to provide proper documents on said items, the BOC will have no choice but to padlock the stalls/doors and seize all of the questioned products in favor of the government,” He said.
Estrella said that the confiscated smuggled counterfeit apparels will be condemned so it won’t be sold in the market in tight observance of the provisions of the IP code of the Philippines.
IPRD chief lawyer Zsae Carrie De Guzman said her office takes an escalated campaign against piracy and counterfeiting to end lost revenues from it in estimated amount of PHP13.3 billion per year.
“It is the mandate of BOC to run after smugglers of faked brand names, thus, we will keep fighting against it as good business who dutifully pay correct taxes to the government will be protected, aside from our intent to respect for intellectual property rights,” she said.