WHILE authorities were holding a ceremonial destruction of an estimated P65 million worth of counterfeit and pirated goods in Camp Crame under the scorching heat of the sun yesterday morning, hawkers of fake rubber shoes, bags, wristwatches , DVDs, CDs and apparels were having a heyday selling their goods in Greenhills, San Juan which is just a few blocks away from the Philippine National Police national headquarters in virtual defiance of an ongoing government crackdown.
“It’s unabated. Our authorities seem to be helpless in stopping the production and sale and distribution of all kinds of counterfeit goods which are being sold in Greenhills or other airconditioned malls or public markets,” a San Juan City resident who identified himself as Teddy Gonzales told the Journal Group in Filipino.
Gonzales was referring to the presence of dozens of stalls inside Greenhills, San Juan as well as different malls and public markets in Sta. Cruz , Quiapo and Divisoria, Manila as well as Quezon City, Pasay City and Pasig City where all kinds of fake goods can be bought. The same also happens in many places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Officials who talked with the Journal Group said there is a need for a law that will also punish the owner and administrator of a building, a shopping mall or a market who will allow his tenants to sell counterfeit goods.
One police official even said that there is a big need for incorruptible agents of agencies like the Optical Media Board, the Bureau of Food and Drugs so that the problem can be effectively addressed.
He cited their past experiences with some OMB personnel whom they helped carry out raids on vendors of pirated DVDs and CDs and other goods in Greenhills, San Juan and Quiapo, Manila. “We were met with violent resistance from the vendors of fake DVDs and CDs who demanded to know why they are being raided despite paying so-called protection money from some of the OMD raiders themselves,” the official said.
The presence of DVD and CD reproduction machines being smuggled into the country thru the seaports also adds up to the already big problem on how to stop the proliferation of fake DVDs and CDs.