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Acting as recreation for Ricketts

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RONNIE Ricketts (right), with comedian Dinky Doo, intensifies his campaign against piracy.JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

Ronnie Ricketts has agreed to direct and appear in an action movie with Viva Films – on condition that he would only shoot on weekends so as not to hamper his job as chairman of the Optical Media Board.

He has so far turned down offers to appear in shows on the three major networks – ABS-CBN 2, TV5 and GMA 7 – because his work with the OMB “has now become a passion.” He said he would have an assistant director for the Viva project who would work on weekdays.

“I spoke with [Viva boss] Vic del Rosario recently and he said, ‘Sobra na ang tulong mo sa industriya. It’s time you make another film.’ The script is finished. I’m just waiting for Boss Vic to arrive from abroad to discuss the budget with him,” Ricketts told Inquirer Entertainment during a visit to his Quezon City office on Thursday.

OMB basketball team

Apart from Ricketts, the film will feature actors who have been actively helping the agency in its antipiracy drive. “But this is not a film on piracy,” Ricketts hastened to add. He said he hoped to get Jhong Hilario to play one of the lead roles.

Hilario is a member of the OMB All-Star basketball team, which tours the country to talk about the negative effects of piracy. Actors Jestoni Alarcon, Monsour del Rosario, Onyok Velasco, Bearwin Meiley, Bayani Agbayani and Dinky Doo are also in the team.

“Some of these players talk to people [about piracy] during the half-time break,” said Ricketts, adding that their next exhibition game will be in Pampanga in November. “Our goal is to educate people, especially our Muslim brothers selling pirated materials. We took away their livelihood so we ask for their understanding. This way they feel important. It actually works.”

A massive antipiracy operation in Manila’s Quiapo district was launched on July 1. It yielded P25-million worth of pirated materials.

“A lot of things are happening now and we are pleased,” the OMB chief reported. “The successful campaign we had in Manila with Mayor (Alfredo) Lim had a domino effect.” Ricketts has since worked with the mayors of Makati, Pasay, Pasig and Las Piñas.

Legit labels

Ricketts said he also met with the representatives of the Music Copyright Administrators of the Philippines (MCAP) and the Philippine Association of the Record Industry Inc. (Pari) recently. “They promised to help legitimate record labels put up stalls in malls that were affected by our operations, like Harrison Plaza in Manila.”

The OMB chief said movie and software distributors would also join this project. “With the help of mall owners, we intend to replace pirated products with legitimate ones.”

A memorandum of agreement between the OMB and the Manila International Airport Authority was signed recently in connection with the importation and exportation of pirated materials, Ricketts reported.

His team recently spoke with students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Batangas, Feati University and De La Salle College of St. Benilde in Manila.

“Sila ang buhay ko,” Ricketts said of the students. “They have fresh minds. They can still think of new ways to curb piracy.”


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