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PCAG honors country’s top taxpayers

IPR Summit highlights P45 billion fake goods seizure over 5 years

THE Post Clearance Audit Group (PCAG) of the Bureau of Customs headed by Assistant Commissioner Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, feted the country’s top taxpayers to celebrate “mutual cooperation” and recognize their outstanding contributions to the country’s revenue collection effort and the bureau’s drive towards trade facilitation.

In a statement, the PCAG said the awarding ceremony was held last March 5, 2024, coinciding with the holding of the BOC’s ‘Annual Stakeholders Engagement’ held at the conference room of the Office of the Commissioner (OCOM) in Manila.

In his opening remarks, Atty. Melvin Joseph L. Banzon, Chief of the Audit Division 2, highlighted the pivotal role of the PCAG within the BOC, emphasizing the group’s importance in ensuring the bureau’s efficiency as a revenue-generating agency and strengthening the trade facilitation of the country.

The success of the post-clearance audit program was attributed to the strong collaboration between the BOC and importers, with the event serving as a platform to showcase their mutual cooperation.

Post Clearance Audit Group (PCAG) head, Assistant Commissioner Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, congratulating the BOC stakeholders during the Annual Stakeholders Engagement, March 5, 2024. The occasion also recognized the country’s top taxpayers headed by Japan Tobacco International (photo: BOC-PIAD).

Importers and private sector entities that demonstrated compliance and made significant contributions to the bureau’s collection efforts over the past year were duly acknowledged and honored during the ceremony.

The top taxpayers for CY 2023 are JT International (Philippines), a position it has now retained for two consecutive years having been also cited by the BOC as country’s top taxpayer in 2022;

Anda Power Corporation, Merck Sharp & Dohme (I.A) LLC, Royal Canin Philippines Inc., Nestle Philippines, Inc., Abbott Laboratories Philippines, Organon (Philippines), Inc., Mondelez Philippines, Inc., GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co., and, CSC Time Inc.

These companies were awarded for their exemplary commitment to paying duties and taxes to the government.

Maronilla, also the BOC spokesperson, expressed his gratitude to those present and reiterated Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio’s commitment of fostering collaboration with stakeholders.

“All the achievements that we made for the past years and all the achievements we will make in the future will not be possible without your cooperation.

“We are all part of one Customs family; stakeholders and the government should work hand in hand. As promised by the Commissioner, we will work with you, we will hear you out, and we will adapt to meet your needs,” Maronilla said.

First IPR Summit

Two days after feting the country’s leading tax contributors, the Intellectual Property Rights Division (BOC-IPRD) took center stage by holding the ‘1ST Intellectual Property Rights Summit’ from March 7 to March 8. The IPRD, headed by its acting chief, Paul Pacunayen, is one of the key units of the Intelligence Group (IG) headed by Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence (DCI) Juvymax Uy.

The summit delved into different topics, including IPR enforcement, customs jurisdiction and exercise of police authority, product identification, and other infringement challenges within the domain of IP practice, as discussed by distinguished speakers from various private and government organizations.

CIIS director Verne Enciso, welcoming participants to the 1ST IPRD Summit held at the Bureau of Customs , March 7, 2024 (photo: BOC-PIAD).

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) director, Verne Enciso, in his remarks on behalf of DCI Uy highlighted the success of the bureau’s IPR operations, many of which, he noted, was accomplished by the CIIS when Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio was still with the service.

“In the past five years, seizures of IP-violating goods have totaled over 45 billion pesos; many of those raids were headed, of course, by Commissioner Rubio when he was still with the CIIS,” Enciso stated.

Commissioner Rubio, for his part, also commended the IG and CIIS’ efforts in protecting intellectual property noting that, “In 2023 alone, the Bureau of Customs recorded 268 seizures of counterfeit cigarettes, apparel, bags, shoes, and accessories valued at 25.379 billion pesos. With this, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and commend the Intelligence Group and the CIIS for this achievement.”

One of the key speakers, Atty. Kristian Nico C. Acosta, head of the legal department of the ‘Guess Group,’ a known apparel manufacturer, discussed leveraging technology to combat cyber infringements, utilizing online databases, GPS systems, advanced cameras, and other IP certification tools.

Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio addressing participants at the 1st IPRD Summit. During his stint at the CIIS, it was noted that of the more than P45 billion fake goods seized by the BOC in the last 5 years, the customs chief played a significant role in their apprehension (photo: BOC-PIAD).

Collaborative efforts among brand owners, law enforcement agencies, prosecution authorities, and courts were emphasized as crucial in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, especially against infringing activities online.

The program also featured specialized sessions on counterfeit product identification, facilitated by brand representatives from known businesses such as SO-EN, Bio-Oil, Mattel, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Unilever Philippines, Shimano, among others.

The two-day event allowed the BOC and other attendees to engage in informative dialogues designed to broaden intelligence and enforcement networks, forge new alliances, and upskill field agents to protect consumers and trademark owners from the dangers of counterfeiting.

Pacunayen, in his closing remarks, expressed trust in the turnout of the event and conveyed gratitude to the participants.

“The war against counterfeit goods may seem ambitious, but we do not doubt that the people in this room, right here, right now, are the right people to make the effort successful. We thank you again for your continued support and dedication and look forward to seeing you at future events.”

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