In its latest biennial report in December 2022, the European Commission’s Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List identified the Baclaran, Cartimar, Divisoria and Greenhills markets in Metro Manila, Philippines as offering a wide range of counterfeit goods on retail and wholesale basis.
This is the first time that Philippine markets have been cited in the biennial list since its launch in 2018.
In the report, the European Union said that the watch list is a selection of marketplaces and service providers reported by stakeholders. The name of each marketplace and service provider mentioned is accompanied by a short summary of the allegations of the reporting stakeholders and, where provided, a summary of the response of the mentioned marketplace or service provider to those allegations.
The latest report highlighted in particular shoes, with some stalls allegedly also running online shops offering counterfeit goods.
Filipinos are well aware of the robust trade in these four markets that are known to be sources of apparel and accessories, shoes, and other commonly used merchandise. Whenever balikbayan relatives visit, a trip to any or several of these markets is frequently included in their itinerary.
But it is the sale of counterfeit goods and pirated items that is most concerning.
According to the EU report, in April 2022 the National Bureau of Investigation seized more than EUR 1 million (₱59.5 million) worth of possible counterfeit goods in the Greenhills shopping center, coupled with the public pledge to take additional steps to curb further sales.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) promptly vowed to help rid the four markets — and similar outlets — of outlawed goods and thus remove this glaring stigma on the country. IPOPHIL has called the attention of the concerned local government units, namely, Parañaque City (Baclaran), Pasay City (Cartimar), Manila (Divisoria) and San Juan City (Greenhills) to enforce the provisions of the Intellectual Property Code of 1997 and the Department of Interior and Local Government’s IP-related regulations.
Business permits are issued by LGUs to stores that are allegedly serving as distribution points for illegal trade and commerce. Hence, non-enforcement of the law is clearly a mark of poor governance. Not wanting to be called out for inaction and ineptitude, local governments would certainly heed the IPOPHIL’s call for decisive action.
The patronage of counterfeit products caters to a lingering colonial mindset on the part of consumers that popular foreign brands are superior to Philippine-made products. Those who are more informed and enlightened know that in the global economy, such goods are actually manufactured in the Philippines and other lower middle class countries whose skilled workers are capable of meeting international quality standards.
Filipino consumers must be informed and educated to set aside their propensity to settle for counterfeit items. Efforts of Filipino enterprises to bring to the market high quality goods that meet global standards must be enhanced and encouraged.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph