The local government of General Santos City is accused of tolerating Muslim businessmen engaged in selling pirated DVDs smuggled from Zamboanga City.
A businessman and mall owner Chan Suy Lam said a private investigation they commissioned showed that most of about 200 businessmen engaged in wholesaling and retailing smuggled pirated DVDs were from the Maranao tribe.
The investigation supposedly showed that the trader of the pirated DVDs is allegedly a big-time smuggler from Zamboanga City supplying voluminous orders in the cities of Davao and General Santos.
It further revealed that some local officials, members of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are allegedly receiving payola from the smugglers of pirated DVDs aside from the monthly contribution from the Maranao businessmen.
But Lam did not say how much is the monthly grease money.
He said it is not only the mall that suffered losses from pirated DVD business but the legitimate DVD wholesalers and retailers renting stalls in the two chains of malls and in various GenSan outlets because of alleged inaction of local officials.
Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Maximo Layugan, GenSan police director, said they are ready anytime to raid and confiscate the pirated DVDs upon request of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), the authorized agency to impose and implement DVD anti-piracy law.
He denied allegation that some of his men are receiving monthly payola from the Maranao businessmen.
Similarly, an NBI official who requested not to be named said their agency is not tolerating any kind of bribery.
A staff at the office of City Administrator Arnel Sapatos told The Manila Times that their office is investigatingr the reported rampant proliferation of DVDs at GenSan public markets.