The Motion Picture Assn. named Philippines Optical Media Board chairman and actor Eduardo Manzano the top Asia-Pacific Copyright Enforcer at the CineAsia film industry trade show yesterday (Dec. 7) in Beijing.

"One of the MPA's closest allies in the fight against copyright theft is Edu Manzano," said Mike Ellis, MPA senior VP and regional director for Asia-Pacific, when presenting the award. "His hard work has resulted in the seizure of millions of pirated optical discs and the substantial raising of the awareness of intellectual property rights issues in the Philippines."

In 2005, the MPA's operations in the Asia-Pacific region investigated more than 34,000 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting more than 10,500 raids. These activities resulted in the seizure of more than 34 million illegal optical discs, 55 factory optical disc production lines and 3,362 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 8,000 legal actions, according to the MPA.

Manzano assumed the leadership of the Optical Media Board in 2004 at the request of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The OMB is charged with regulating the manufacture, mastering and replication of optical media in the Philippines.

"We have a long way to go before we can say we've got the piracy problem under control in the Philippines, but we are fighting the good fight,"

Manzano said in accepting the award. "What we need to do is work together, industry and government, to punish the bad guys for their crimes, and to help the good guys -- our customers -- to understand that paying for entertainment is worthwhile."

Manzano is one of the country's most recognizable film stars, appearing in 125 movies and a two-time winner of the country's Best Actor award. He has been responsible for vast improvements in the scale and scope of anti-piracy enforcement activity in the Philippines, where organized crime links to piracy are well-documented, according to the MPA, and raids often uncover arms and illegal drugs.