PNP to step up drive vs ‘pirates’

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THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police is set to intensify its campaign against violations of intellectual property rights (IPRs) that cost the government millions of pesos in uncollected revenues.

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The CIDG chief, Director Benjamin Magalong, has directed the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crime Unit to be in the forefront in the drive against IPR thieves.

The anti-crime unit’s chief, Sr. Supt. Bartolome Bustamante, said Magalong called on them and other CIDG arms to help sustain gains made by the PNP against counterfeiters and “pirates” that saw the country delisted by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR)
as a haven for IPR thieves.

After being on the list for the past six years, the Philippines was removed from it in December 2012.

The detection group and the anti-crime unit, under the supervision of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), have conducted raids on known markets of IPR violators in the country such as the Greenhills shopping area in San Juan City in Metro Manila and the Quiapo and Divisoria shopping centers in Manila.

The IPOPHL head, Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, has expressed his elation over the Philippines’ delisting by the Office of the USTR.

Bartolome called on the public to stop patronizing counterfeit and fake products such as watches, fashion items and CDs and DVDs since doing so deprives the government of millions of pesos in lost taxes.

He noted that the Anti-Money Laundering Council “can investigate bank accounts of those involved in IPR violations.”

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