Lobregat named IPR enforcement champion PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 17:30

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has recognized Mayor Celso Lobregat’s support to the campaign against counterfeiting and piracy by naming his as an Intellectual Property Right champion.

Mayor Lobregat was only one of the only two local government chief executives in the country, recognized by the IPOPHL for their strong and dedicated leadership and fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim also received the same citation.

“In grateful recognition of his exceptional and unflagging support to the campaign against counterfeiting and piracy in Zamboanga and for his invaluable contribution toward a stronger Philippine Intellectual Property System”, IPOPHL director general Carlo Blancaflor said of Mayor Lobregat.

Mayor Lobregat shared the stage with Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim in talking about the “Role of the LGUs in the Campaign Against Counterfeiting and Piracy”  during the first ever Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel Monday, October 24.

The summit was attended by members of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and heads and key enforcement officer of other agencies tasked to address counterfeiting and piracy in the country. Representatives of organizations as well as ambassadors of other countries will also be in attendance in the summit.

Since he assumed office, Lobregat said there have been enforcement actions aimed at protecting the interest of the people and these actions included raids and consequent seizure of counterfeit and pirated items including those banned or prohibited under the law, and done on the strength of executive orders backed by national laws and issuances. “In all of these actions we coordinated with agencies and special-created bodies and even the local business groups to ensure that our moves are well planned and within the bounds of law”.

Unless deputized by the Optical Media Board, the city government through the City Administrator’s Office has no power or authority to be at the forefront of swooping down on licensed stalls to confiscate illegally-sold materials. The operations conducted by the city (excluding those held in cooperation with law enforcement agencies) are concentrated on unlicensed or illegally-operating business establishments or stalls.

Focused during the advocacy were not only counterfeit items, pirated DVDs and VCDs and other digital products but also the banned or prohibited goods such as pellet guns, firecrackers and pyrotechnics, melamine-tainted products and the so-called ‘magic sugar’ and poor quality-electrical gadgets and many others, according to Mayor Lobregat.

After the raids, seizure and the referral of the cases to the proper agencies and authorities, the city government spearheads the destruction of the seized items in public view to dramatize efforts to curb this global problem.

Highlighting the numerous enforcement actions of the city were the destruction of tons of pirated DVD’s including TV sets, pellet guns, firecrackers and pyrotechnics last January 3, 2007; the seizure of 16,000 plus pirated DVDs and VCDs which were turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on August 2009 and the March 18, 2011 confiscation by a joint team from Optical Media Board, City government and police of some 450,000 DVDs and VCDs worth over P30million considered to be the largest bust in Mindanao the last few years.

The OMB-led raid in Zamboanga was in response to Lobregat’s request to OMB chair and Chief Executive Officer Ronald Rickets based on Council resolution 70 approved and authored by Councilor Percival Ramos on February 8, 2011 calling on the OMB, the police and other concerned agencies to operate against the proliferation of pirated DVDs including the blatant display of pornographic materials in downtown stalls.

And to further strengthen the city’s defenses against counterfeiting and piracy, Mayor Lobregat said the City Council is in the process of deliberating and approving proposed ordinance No. 2011-37 entitled “An Ordinance to Curtail the Sale, Rental, Transfer, Distribution, Manufacture and or Production of Pirated, Counterfeit or Fake Goods” authored by Councilor Mike Alavar.

“These are just some of our unrelenting efforts to support the nationwide campaign to curb counterfeiting and piracy. Despite the limited power, we will continue to be an ally of the national government specifically the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and all other stakeholders in the campaign to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of laws,” the mayor added. — Sheila Covarrubias