A TECHNICAL working group (TWG) has been formed by the House Special Committee on the Creative Industry and Performing Arts to consolidate three measures aiming to grant cash incentives plus other non-monetary benefits to filmmakers, literary writers, and performing artists who brought honor to the Philippines via their creative works that have won formal international acclaim, according to CamSur Representative LRay Villafuerte.
Villafuerte said this TWG has started working on a substitute bill to combine the provisions of these three measures: House Bill (HB) No. 1281 or the “Creative Philippines Act;” HB 4540 or “An Act Protecting the Rights and Welfare of Filipino Artists, providing benefits and for other purposes;” and HB 1934 or “The Artists’ Incentives Act.”
HB 1934, for one, has proposed a tax-free cash award of P500,000 to P1 million to Filipino creative artists who have won top awards in international film festivals or award-giving institutions, said Villafuerte, who is one of the four authors of this bill.
“The international awards bestowed upon the works of our Filipino artists call for appropriate government acknowledgment,” Villafuerte, who is president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said. “We need to grant cash incentives to Filipinos in the creative industry who have received recognition and honor in prestigious and notable competitions abroad.”
“With this measure, our artists will surely be encouraged to engage in various forms of arts to represent the country and further hone their skills and craft in the various arts,” he added.
The NUP president had authored HB 1934 – one of these three measures up for consolidation by the House special committee on the creative industry and performing arts – with fellow Camarines Sur Reps. Miguel Luis Villafuerte and Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata, and Bicol Saro Rep. Nicolas Enciso VIII.
HB 1281 was authored by Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia, who chairs this House special committee, while HB 4540 was introduced by Quezon City Rep. Patrick Michael Vargas.
In HB 1934, its four authors, led by Villafuerte, said their proposed cash incentives for award-winning artists support the state policy in the 1987 Constitution to “give priority to education, science and technology, arts, and culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.”
Moreover, they said, the Constitution provides that “Arts and letters shall enjoy the patronage of the State. The State shall conserve, promote, and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations.”
“Towards this end,” they said, “the State shall extend its support to filmmakers, film production entities, literary writers, artists, and performers in the creative sector by providing incentives based on international recognition and merit in order to encourage the creation of more high-quality works of art, which, in turn, shall elevate the stature of the country in the world’s stage.”
During a recent committee hearing, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairman Tirso Cruz III said no individual cash awards are being given to actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, and other creative people behind films that have been recognized by prominent award-giving bodies abroad.
Cruz recommended, though, that the proposed law must specify the award-giving bodies or film festivals whose Filipino artist-winners deserve to get the proposed incentives.
In HB 1934, its four Bicolano authors said that notable and prestigious competitions, film festivals, and other exhibitions shall refer to those that have given recognition and awards to artistic works for the last five years and are well-known for their international profile, audience size and the quality and breadth for their competition, festival or exhibition.
These international competitions and film festivals shall include, but not be limited to, the Cannes Film Festival in France, Sundance Film Festival and New York Film Festival in the United States (US), Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, Venice Film Festival in Italy, and the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.
Villafuerte and HB 1934’s other authors pointed out that “the creative industry is an essential cultural asset in the country as they showcase arts, skills, and creativity. In the context of the Philippines, our history and culture [have] been showcased in various music, performing arts, craft, design, and film.”
“With this, the art industry has evolved through time and allowed artists, literary writers, filmmakers, film production entities, and performers in the creative sector to gain international recognition and prestige,” they said.
They noted in their bill that: “In the 2022 Sundance Awards, the film ‘Leonor Will Never Die’ of director Martika Escobar won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award. In the 78th Venice Film Festival, artist John Arcilla bagged the Coppi Volpi (Volpi Cup) for Best Actor. In 2020, director Arvin Belarmino received the Berlin Brandenburg Short Award for Best Film at the 36th Interfilm Berlin Short Film Festival with the short film ‘Tarang.’ In 2019 moreover, Filipino film ‘Yellow Rose,’ written and directed by Diane Paragas, won the Reel Asian Best Feature Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival.”
HB 1934 states that the proposed incentives shall apply to all filmmakers, film production entities, literary writers, artists, and performers in the creative sector whose works merited the highest recognition for technical or artistic excellence in internationally notable and prestigious competitions, film festivals, and other exhibitions as may be determined by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), FDCP and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
For winning filmmakers, film production entities, literary writers, artists, and performers in the creative sector, HB 1934 proposed the following amounts as tax-free incentives: P1 million to artists, production entities, itinerary writers, artists, and performers in the creative sector who have garnered the highest award from an international competition, film festival, or exhibition determined by the NCCA, FDCP, and CCP.
P500,000 to winning artists, production entities, literary writers, artists, and performers in the creative sector who have garnered special recognition and/or any other award not considered the highest award from an international competition, film festival, or exhibition determined by the NCCA, FDCP, and CPP.
The bill states that should there be more than one winner of a particular award, though, the amount shall be equally divided among the winners.
The amount necessary for the implementation of the proposed Act shall be charged against the National Endowment for Culture and the Arts established under Section 50 of Republic Act (RA) 10066 or the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009,” subject to existing budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
Within 30 days from the effectivity of this Act, the NCCA, FDCP, CCP, and the Department of Finance (DOF), in consultation with other government agencies and concerned stakeholders, shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to carry out the provisions of this Act.
However, HB 1934 proposed that the non-promulgation of the IRR shall not prevent the immediate implementation of this Act upon its effectivity.