Legarda backs IPOPHL move to boost, safeguard local geographical indications

(Photo courtesy of office of Sen. Loren Legarda)

As defined by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, geographical indications are any indication that identifies a good as originating in a territory, region or locality, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and/or human factors.

The identified potential GIs in the country include the Cordillera heirloom rice, Guimaras mangoes, Benguet cacao, Batangas kapeng barako, Davao pummelo and the Bagtason loom weave of Antique, among other local products.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who is from Antique, lauded the move by the IPOPHL to reinforce rules and regulations safeguarding GIs in the country, which can potentially give Filipino-made products a significant advantage toward economic and social development through responsible use of the intellectual property system.

“These new regulations issued by the Intellectual Property Office are a welcome development. While it cannot be expected to resolve past controversies or halt attempts at cultural appropriation, it is a very good step toward this end,” Legarda said.

“An indication of origin does a great deal more than increase market awareness and ensure sales,” according to Legarda.

“People developing GIs are demonstrating nature-based solutions, and we must pay attention as they do. When people enhance their local products, like native plants and animals grown there, they enhance the capacity of their communities to address problems within their specific context.”

The four-term senator also emphasized the importance of ensuring the integration of efforts with those of the government and other communities that will inspire further developments and an upswing of collective pride that benefits traditional and indigenous Filipino products.

In 2019, Legarda authored and enacted the Innovation Act, which requires the government to put innovation at the center of its development policies considering regional and global economic opportunities.

“Opportunity is a great motivator. And I have no doubt that take together, along with the ingenuity of the Filipino, will usher in a new era of production that takes into consideration our awesome natural gifts and biodiversity,” she said.

Last May 22, Legarda was the keynote speaker at the 2023 National Geographical Indications Forum. The discussions, according to her, are timely given the country has “done too little for too long” in protecting GIs.

In partnership with the IPOPHL and the Design Center of the Philippines, Legarda’s office also set up an exhibit at the Senate on the potential geographical indications in the Philippines that runs from 24 to 25 May 2023, featuring distinct and indigenous products from all over the country.

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