Philippines seizing 'record amounts' of fake goods

Government officials destroy counterfeit handbags at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Manila in June. The Philippines is seizing record amounts of fake goods, most of them from China, showing the government's commitment to enforcing intellectual property rights, a government watchdog has said

The Philippines is seizing record amounts of fake goods, most of them from China, showing the government's commitment to enforcing intellectual property rights, a government watchdog said Monday.

In the first eight months of 2011, over 3.8 billion pesos ($87.7 million) worth of counterfeit products were picked up, 62 percent up from the same period last year.

Seizures of counterfeit goods this year are easily expected to top the record haul of 5.68 billion pesos recorded in 2009, said Chester Singco, head of the inter-agency secretariat on intellectual property enforcement.

"As reported to us and based on confiscations... most of the fakes come from China. But there are reports of more items coming from Malaysia," he told AFP.

Figures released by Singco's agency showed that in 2011, the top seized items were handbags, wallets and backpacks, supposedly of signature brands.

Counterfeit clothing and bootleg DVDs and music CDs were also among items seized.

Fake products are widely available in the Philippines, often sold openly on sidewalks.

The government has been cracking down on intellectual property violations, launching frequent, high-profile raids and destroying the seized materials.

However, the Philippines remains on the US Trade Representative's lower-level Watch List of countries deemed not to be doing enough to protect intellectual property rights.