Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: November 23, 2021 08:08 AM GMT
Workers from the Intellectual Property Office destroy counterfeit backpacks and handbags in a symbolic act showing the Philippine government's determination to crack down on the widespread sale of illegal items in Manila in this file photo. (Photo: AFP)
Young Catholics in the Philippines have launched a campaign to try and stop their fellow youths from buying counterfeit and smuggled products.
Almost 50 members of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Youth group from Manila have banded together to sign a pledge entitled “I won’t buy fake” to convince fellow youths that buying counterfeit goods does more harm than good to the economy.
“Let us distinguish fakes and originals and buy only originals. Buying fake products contributes to the black market. It hurts companies that are paying proper wages to workers and taxes to the government,” the group said on Nov. 22.
It said it felt compelled to act after a Bureau of Customs report revealed that China was the top supplier of fake products, such as designer fashion items, accessories and cosmetics, in the Philippines.
The report was issued to warn consumers about their poor quality and safety issues.
“Trademarks are not only marks but a symbol of quality of a product,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero told reporters on Nov. 22.
Counterfeit goods may seem like a bargain but they can be dangerous and could be funding organized crimes and syndicates
Counterfeit goods also deny the government billions in taxes and unpaid duty, he said.
The youth group also warned Filipino consumers of the dangers of buying fake goods.
“There are risks of buying counterfeit goods, particularly health and safety concerns. Counterfeit goods may seem like a bargain but they can be dangerous and could be funding organized crimes and syndicates,” the group added.
The group also called on customs officials to prevent such goods entering the country, alleging widespread corruption in the Bureau of Customs had allowed such goods to flood the market.
“We call on government officials in the Bureau of Customs not to be blinded by the money offered to them. The presence of fake and smuggled products in the market is partly your responsibility,” it said.
“So is the health of consumers. If they get sick because of fake products, you are partly responsible for that. Let us not exchange honesty and integrity with money.”
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