Billions worth of fake products seized in Bulacan

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Bulacan (CNN Philippines, June 17) — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday seized billions of pesos worth of counterfeit items from four warehouses in this province.

These include known brands of shampoo, whitening soap, dishwashing liquid and cigarettes.

Brand representatives and customs officials said there are certain features that indicate if a product is fake. For instance, "fake shampoos" have no tear cut in the packaging.

They said fake products are usually sold in the provinces — up to 40 percent cheaper than the original ones.

"And walang factory na ina-allow na gumawa ng iba't ibang brand ng product para sa iba't ibang company [No factory is allowed to produce different brands of products for different companies]," John Sacriz, a brand representative said.

The warehouses also served as manufacturing plants. Authorities found machines and raw materials, such as chemicals, packaging and tobacco leaves for cigarettes.

"They are now producing it in the country so this is one big blow against those who are trying to produce these fake commodities," Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said.

Authorities also recovered smuggled goods, such as sacks of rice and branded shoes.

They have yet to complete an inventory of the contraband, but Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Neil Estrella said they have estimated these to be worth billions of pesos.

Investigation also showed the warehouses lack necessary permits to operate.

Once the owners are identified, charges will be filed for smuggling and producing fake products.

Authorities are also warning the public against the use of fake products.

"There could be some effects sa buhok o sa scalp ng tao pag ginagamit ito regularly kasi hindi regulated itong products o chemical na ginagamit nila [There could be some effects on the hair or scalp when fake shampoos are used regularly because the products or chemicals they use are not regulated]," Sacriz said.

Customs officials remind consumers to buy goods only from authorized stores.