Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

MANILA – The Philippines maintained its clean record to be out of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report, the United States’ piracy watch list, for seven consecutive years.

“We welcome the country’s continued exclusion from the Special 301 priority lists,” Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Deputy Director General Teodoro Pascua said in a statement Friday, commenting on the USTR’s 2020 Special 301 Report.

The Philippines has stayed off the US piracy list since 2014 after the country became an intellectual property rights concern for the US for 20 years.

The report noted the Philippines’ effort to strengthen policy on geographical indications and effective anti-camcording law.

On the other hand, the USTR has raised the issue of using unlicensed software among government institutions in the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria, Paraguay, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

It also raised alarm on China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Pakistan as these countries were mentioned by a study of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as the leading sources of counterfeit pharmaceutical products.

IPOPHL said the Philippines has policies in place for the government to avoid the use of unauthorized and substandard products.

These include the Government Procurement Reform Act and the Executive Order No. 261 series of 2002, and the Memorandum Circular No.115 issued in 1995 directing all government offices to acquire only licensed software.

In its fight against fake medicines, Pascua said the IPOPHL and the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights deal with this issue “as a life-and-death matter”.

“Any issue on public health is a major concern. Hence, heightened vigilance will be taken as the Philippines does not and cannot tolerate activities that put human lives at risk. In fact, IPOPHL in its legislative agenda proposed much steeper penalties on counterfeiting of medicines and other products which pose danger to life and health,” Pascua added.

Meanwhile, the 2020 USTR Special 301 Report named Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Turkey, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago in its watch list while China, Indonesia, India, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela as countries in its priority watch list. (PNA)

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