A leader of the House of Representatives is pushing for a measure seeking to accelerate the economic recovery and performance of film companies and improve the vulnerable workers’ quality of life amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
House Committee on Economic Affairs Chairperson Sharon Garin filed on July 28 House Bill 7192 to provide response and recovery interventions to companies and workers of the film industry.
A copy of the bill was sent to the media on Thursday.
“The film industry suffered great losses due to the temporary closures of cinema theatres nationwide. Without augmentation of the funding for the film industry, the danger of the industry’s collapse is inevitable,” Garin said.
She noted that the film industry, including the audio-visual industry services for live events and performances, television production, and other audio-visual activities, employs at least 2.8 million workers, mostly freelancers.
Garin said an economic stimulus package designed for the film industry, in the form of subsidies, is necessary.
The proposed interventions include online platform creation, financial assistance subsidies, unemployment or separation financial assistance, guaranteed loans and training, and waiver or discounted rating fees and permits.
She also underscored that the cancellation of produced cinema programs and films, as well as the long suspension of film production, distribution, and exhibition, are among other reasons for the displacement of the film industry’s workers.
“The revenue losses have inversely led to the catastrophic shoot up of its unemployed population who mainly rely on the film industry to subsist,” Garin added.
The bill aims to help film companies shift to online platforms by providing support and access to modern information and communications technology equipment.
Subsidies or loans to the film companies shall be granted by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The bill also proposes loan guarantees for affected film companies by the FDCP, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to augment their capitals to bankroll projects or produce more quality content.
A total amount of PHP500 million is appropriated to support the implementation of the bill.
In his speech during the opening of the second regular session of the 18th Congress, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the Philippine creative industry must be revitalized.
Cayetano said the House leadership would file a bill seeking to establish the Department of Arts and Culture.
“So that instead of being a casualty of Covid-19, Filipino creativity and artistry will be an integral part of our arsenal for recovery,” he said. (PNA)