SOME 259 sacks of pirated CDs and DVDs worth P36 million were confiscated yesterday by a team from the Optical Media Board (OMB) from an appliance store on Manalili St. in Cebu City.
Agent Joseph Arnaldo, team leader of OMB, yesterday said that Cebu HDM Marketing was placed under surveillance for three months, after they received reports that the store was selling pirated optical discs and re-writable discs.
He said they seized the re-writable discs because the store does not have permit to sell these.
Arnaldo said the store is the source of all retailers of pirated CDs and DVDs in the downtown area, particularly on Colon St.
While the store sells appliances and electronic products on the ground floor, the pirated discs were stored upstairs.
The group operated and seized the illegal materials through an inspection order released by OMB.
Atty. Victor Luis Padilla II, OMB executive director, said the shop is believed to be the largest distributor and importer of pirated CDs and DVDs in Cebu and in neighboring provinces.
Padilla said they have been operating against retailers of illegal materials.
Aside from locally-burned CDs and DVDs, Padilla said some of the discs came from China and were illegally shipped to the country.
“We received information that there is a local plant here. We are also working in other areas to stop this illegal activity,” Arnaldo said.
He said yesterday’s operation should serve as a warning to other distributors and replicators of pirated CDs and DVDs to stop selling these as charges will be filed against them.
Arnaldo said the owner of the shop who was not around during yesterday’s operation will be charged since selling pirated discs violates Republic Act 9239, or the Optical Media Act.
According to the store’s business permit, the store is under the name of Rolando Dantes, with general merchandise as his nature of business.
Store employees who refused to give their names, denied they were involved in selling the pirated materials.
They also told the media and OMB agents they had no idea where the owner was.
The seized materials will be brought to Manila after an inventory.