Legarda bats for measure promoting geographical indications in PH

August 7, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda supported further promoting geographical indications (GI) in the Philippines to safeguard intellectual property mechanisms as she co-authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2387, or the Protected Geographical Indications Act.

Anchored on the rules and regulations operationalized by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the measure aims to give legislative fiat to GIs and promote the recognition and protection of the country’s valuable geographical indications.

GIs pertain to 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, as defined by the Intellectual Property Code of 1997.

Known for her advocacies in promoting Philippine products and culture, Legarda has previously stated the need to pay attention to developing GIs and underscored the importance of ensuring the integration of efforts of the government and communities that will uphold the nation’s indigenous and traditional products.

“Timely as this discussion may seem to be, I must assert that our extensions come a tad late. We have known and loved these products for decades, yet we did too little for too long,” Legarda conveyed.

Legarda noted several controversies that troubled various indigenous communities, resulting in the term ‘cultural appropriation.’ These include the indigenous weaves of the Cordillera people and the traditional tattoo art of the Kalinga, among others.

She said continuously honoring the country’s culture and arts is a moral imperative and should be given legal intellectual protections and remedies.

“These new regulations issued by the IPOPHL are, therefore, 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. And giving it further legislative backbone is highly warranted,” Legarda remarked.

The four-term senator also stressed that GIs have back-end and front-end implications beyond marketing. She said that an indication of origin does a great deal more than increase market awareness and ensure sales.

Legarda reported the recent inclusion of Guimaras mangoes as the first registered GI in the Philippines, where she also stated that more localities are putting their best foot forward, including Lake Sebu T’nalak, Batangas Barako, Lake Taal Tawilis, Bicol Pili and Davao Pomelo. These also include the patadyong weaving in her hometown province of Antique, which is considered a potential GI.

“Locals will be motivated with pride and collective self-worth that their very own are recognized. They will continue to strive for perfection and even variation, confident that they have government recognition and support,” Legarda expressed.

“In the midst of all these opportunities, let us also remind ourselves that there is only so much that legal recognition can do. Loving our own, patronizing our own, and bearing our own with our head held high, whether registered or not, are themselves protections and should be nurtured,” she added. (end)