GENEVA 23 October 2018 — The Philippines formally conferred the Order of Sikatuna on Director-General Francis Gurry of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in recognition of the significant assistance and support that the organization has extended to the country.
The Order of Sikatuna which is the highest award given to foreign individuals who have been instrumental in helping the Philippines achieve its national goals and strengthening the country’s foreign relations was presented to Director-General Gurry during a ceremony in Geneva on 02 October 2018.
“Cooperation between the Philippines and WIPO flourished during Director-General Gurry’s leadership, resulting in concrete programs that helped further strengthen the intellectual property landscape of the Philippines and contribute to the attainment of the national development agenda,” Director-General Josephine Santiago of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said during the ceremony.
With technical and legal assistance from WIPO, the Philippines is preparing to implement the National Intellectual Property Strategy in line with the Philippine Development Plan. Last year, IPOPHL was successfully designated as an international body for patent search and preliminary examination, the second in ASEAN after Singapore.
Ongoing programs such as the Inventor Assistance Program and the establishment of Innovation and Technology Support Centers have catalyzed intellectual property as an indispensable tool for promoting innovation and pursuing development.
Ambassador Evan Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, reaffirmed the commitment of the Philippines to continue working with WIPO in order to maximize the role that intellectual property plays in spurring economic activity and narrowing development gaps.
“Tasked to negotiate treaties related to patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property, WIPO continues to be a true and lasting bastion of multilateralism at a time when multilateralism is facing challenges,” Ambassador Garcia said.
One of the recent major treaties successfully negotiated by WIPO member-states is the Marrakesh Treaty, a copyright treaty concluded in June 2013 with clear humanitarian and development dimension that grants the blind and visually impaired greater access to copyrighted material.
“WIPO proves that with concerted international effort and willingness to trust and engage, the international community can hurdle differences and move forward together,” Ambassador. Garcia added.