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IPOPHL roadshow kicks off in Bohol to bolster tourism, economic competitiveness

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is holding a two-day roadshow in Bohol to boost its creation and protection of intellectual property (IP) assets, an effort seen to help revitalize the province’s tourism industry and overall economic competitiveness.

The roadshow, running from March 13 to 14, 2023, commenced with an opening ceremony at the Bohol Cultural Center joined by Director General Rowel S. Barba, Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado, Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Central Visayas Director Maria Elena Arbon, and other officials and staff from IPOPHL, the governor’s office and the DTI regional hub. 

“Our activities could benefit a lot of Boholanos, whether you are an entrepreneur, an innovator, an artist, a young student or someone young at heart. And we’re glad to see that as early as today, our very first day here, there is overwhelming support from the Boholanos, showing just how hungry you are to learn about what IPOPHL is, what we’re doing here and what IP can do for your province,” the IPOPHL chief added.

Simultaneous activities

The two-day roadshow will hold talks led by the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCRR) and the Bureau of Patents (BOP), respectively on protecting creative outputs and harnessing innovation through patents, utility models and industrial designs.

Boholanos will also learn from the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) about the branding tools they can leverage to promote their products and services. Parallel to this event is the BOT’s two-day activity to capacitate the producers of Asin Tibuok and Ube Kinampay to leverage geographic indications in promoting their products locally and even globally. 

The IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO), meanwhile, will aid Boholanos in learning how to best protect their IP rights against counterfeiting and piracy in both physical and online markets. The IEO, together with the IP Academy, will emphasize the responsibility of local government units (LGUs) in building a culture of IP respect in their communities and in adopting an Anti-Counterfeit and Anti-Piracy Policy. 

The first day also marks the launch of the IP HelpDesk which brings IPOPHL’s customer support services closer to the Boholanos, giving them greater access to the Office’s services and programs. 

On the sidelines of the two-day event, cliniquing will be held at DTI Bohol Office and the Bohol Cultural Center. Through this activity, IP specialists will hold one-on-one sessions with participants interested to learn more about how they can create a comprehensive IP strategy and develop IP assets for commercial use. 

The Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau (DITTB) will also shine a spotlight on the role of the youth as it introduces the Young IP Advocates (YIPA) Program. The YIPA Program could shape young Boholanos to become IP enthusiasts and empower them to be agents of change through the IP system.

A half-day session will be dedicated to highlight the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in bringing verve to the country’s local innovation scene. Boholanos will be given the chance to dive into the DITTB’s Innovation and Technology Support Office (ITSO) Program and learn its potential impact in raising the province’s innovative outputs and capacity.

Aside from the roadshow, IPOPHL will hold in the island of Panglao the 69th ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation  (AWGIPC) – the final one IPOPHL will be leading as chair of the body. This meeting – which gathers high-level representatives from ASEAN, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the World Intellectual Property Organization – will discuss the progress in furthering the bloc’s IP Rights Action Plan 2016 to 2025 and turn over the AWGIPC leadership to the new chair. 

IP for tourism and economic recovery

Barba is confident the roadshow will yield positive outcomes for Bohol especially in its steady recovery from the pandemic both as a key tourist destination and a competitive LGU.

Home to the famous Chocolate Hills, the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, Bohol is one of the most visited destinations in the Central Visayas region. It offers one-of-a-kind marine adventures, the magical Loboc river cruise and extreme adventure parks while brimming with cultural treasures. 

However, with the impact of the pandemic, tourist arrivals have slumped from 1.6 million in 2019 to 179,781 in 2021. Barba said “the IP system can help brand a better and more innovative Bohol for the attraction of more tourists.”

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also showed that while Bohol‘s economy in 2021 grew by 4.3% from a slump of -6.3% in 2020, its gross provincial domestic product (GPDP) of nearly P160 billion still stood below the pre-pandemic level of over P163 billion in 2019.

“Bohol can bounce back stronger from the pandemic by boosting its innovative and creative development, a strategy in which the IP system can contribute to. Bohol is after all at an impressive spot at 35th out of 81 provinces in the Cities and Municipalities and Competitiveness Index (CMCI),” Barba said, adding that four Bohol towns were even among the top awardees in the infrastructure pillar, dynamism pillar, innovation pillar and overall competitiveness in the 2021 CMCI Index.

Barba thanked Gov. Aumentado and DTI Regional Director Arbon for extending their full support to the IPOPHL team from the early days of planning the event to successfully making the activities happen. 

“We hope the events throughout the week will show how IP can benefit Boholanos’ lives, from supplying the spark for innovation and creativity to providing the needed incentive in commercializing their business ideas,” Barba added.

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