By Jigger J. Jerusalem
Phividec Industrial Authority is set to investigate how a business facility was able to manufacture alleged counterfeit products and store untaxed consumer goods right inside the state-run economic zone in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
“Dili, apil na sa among sutaon (no, that will be included in our investigation),” Phividec administrator Franklin Quijano said in a text message Sunday when pressed if they allow locators to rent out their commercial spaces to other entities.
A joint team of local government officials, police, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and National Bureau of Investigation-10 (NBI-10) operatives raided two buildings of the Timberwood Development Corporation owned by Taiwanese citizen Huang Teng Pee, located within the Phividec Industrial Estate in Barangay Mohon, Tagoloan, on July 25.
During the raid, law enforcers found candy-making machines, materials, and ingredients, as well as finished candy products sealed in plastic containers ready for distribution.
In an interview, Huang said he has ceased Timberwood operations and has resorted to renting out his warehouses to other businessmen.
One of the two warehouses were said to be used in manufacturing a popular candy brand, while the other building houses stocks of consumer products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, soda drinks, plastic ware, among other items.
Quijano said Phividec has already acted on the possible violation allegedly committed by those who are behind the operation.
“Show cause order is on the way for violating the law,” he said in another text message.
Quijano said it is possible that Timberwood will be closed down “after due process.”
According to the regional police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mardy Hortillosa, the operator of the candy-manufacturing facility will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
For its part, the BIR Revenue Region 16 based in Cagayan de Oro in a recent statement said the perpetrators of the candy counterfeiting operation will also be charged with violation of tax code provisions such as unlawful pursuit of business, failure to file excise tax return, unlawful possession of articles subject to excise tax without payment of tax, unlawful possession of spurious or fake internal revenue stamps, and attempt to defeat or evade excise tax.
Earlier, NBI-10 regional director Patricio Bernales Jr. they will start their investigation with Huang and if he refuses to cooperate and give the names of his tenants, he will be the first to be charged.