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Friday, October 7, 2011

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS RUN AFTER THE SMUGGLERS

It used to be that the influx of counterfeit goods from neighboring sources was unabated. Cheap branded items from designer apparel, toys and light tools and machinery flooded the market until recently when the Bureau of Customs, thru the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service’s Intellectual Property Division flexed its muscles and stood firm in its drive to weed out fake goods.

That was the beginning.

Today the Bureau of Customs, with Commissioner Ruffy Biazon at the helm, sent the signal even clearer to these smugglers of counterfeit items as he initiated the filing of smuggling cases against two companies. Multikarat Enterprises imported fake energizer brand batteries in 2010, declaring this shipment as replacement parts to avoid detection by the BOC. Sarae Trading’s shipment on the other hand, was seized for containing counterfeit speakers masquerading as genuine ‘Konzert” brand speakers.

Charged for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the Intellectual Property Code are GRACIANO MALANGEN TUMABAT and JOSEPH DIMASANA ESPIRITU, proprietor and customs broker, respectively, of Sarae Trading and JOEL ARZADON MACARAEG and CARLOS DACAYMAT, proprietor and customs broker, respectively, of Multikarat Enterprises.

According to Commissioner Biazon, “piracy and counterfeiting not only affect rights of intellectual property holders and their concomitant economic and moral interests, but also harm national economies and social structures. Counterfeiting is fast creating in our country a criminal environment because of the high profit and the relatively low risk.

“The filing of these cases is an affirmation of the Philippines ’ commitment to the international community that we will not tolerate copyright and intellectual property rights infringements in this country,” Biazon averred.

Biazon further emphasized that “health and safety of the public may be jeopardized if counterfeiting is left unchecked.” He said that the highly dangerous effects on consumers of fake medicines, cosmetics, food, vehicle parts should receive increasing attention among policy makers and law enforcers if we are to maintain a healthy environment.

Joining Commissioner Biazon in the filing of charges were Deputy Commissioner Peter Manzano of the Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group and RATS Officer In Charge and Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim of the Intelligence Group. The two stressed that “the bureau will file charges against those who will even attempt to trample not only with customs laws but other laws in general.” Jessil A. Felisario, Public Information & Assistance Division, Bureau of Customs (BOC)

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