Filipino artists from all over the country are banding together to ask government to recognize the Creative Economy as a legitimate sector.

Panahon na kilalanin ang kontribusyon sa bayan ng artistang Pilipino. Panahon nang kilalanin bilang isang legit na sector ang Creative Economy,” said Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, a former child actor, writer, director and Congressman for the 4th district of Pangasinan, Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of the Special Committee of Creative Industry and Performing Arts.

“These measures are urgently needed. The pandemic has greatly disrupted the creative economy. The production of movies has slowed considerably, only to resume under very costly arrangements in order to be compliant with IATF rules,” he stressed.

Rep Toff de Venecia with the cast of Dani Girl (photo courtesy of The Sandbox Collective)

De Venecia is the lead convener of the Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc of the 18th Congress, with 6 Deputy Speakers and 12 Committee Chairmen as members. This Bloc seeks to introduce and support legislations that protect, promote, and bolster arts, culture, and creative industries.

Napakalawak nito. Kasama dito ang artista, pintor, manunulat, mananayaw, singer, rapper, event organizer, arkitekto, advertiser, comic book artist, chef, fashion designer, communication designer, furniture designer, pati na rin mga content creators, at e-Sports athletes and gamers,” De Venecia noted.

Mahalaga na maging malinaw at markahan ang espasyo nila sa ekonomiya. Eto ang unang hakbang para mabigyan ng sapat na suporta ng gobyerno ang Creative Economy. This is why we need to urgently pass the Philippine Creative Industries Development Bill,” he urged.

Rep. Stella Quimbo, representative of the Second District of Marikina, notes the huge potential of the creative sector. “Per the DTI, the entirety of creative industries provides 4.8 million jobs or 11.3 percent of total employment in 2019. In terms of exports, the Philippines generated about USD 6.8 billion worth of creative goods or 6.0% of total exports. DTI Secretary Lopez also stated that the creative industries make up 7.12 percent of the GDP in 2017.”

However, at present no agency exists to provide a comprehensive and unified plan to develop the Philippine Creative Industries as a whole, despite common pain points such as human resource development, labor and social protection, preservation and conservation of creative output, technological development, cultural assets management and policy issues involving infrastructure, industry, competition, investments and regulatory instruments.

Chris Gomez at work in his home atelier

“We want our voice to be heard kay walay program ang government for us creatives. Specially during these times, we are left behind because we’re not considered essential. But we are a great contributor to our economy,” rues Cagayan de Oro based designer Chris Gomez.

“For instance, during the current pandemic vaccination drive, the creative sector is not included. Maayo pa ang mga PU drivers ug drivers sa sikad, naa sila sa lista sa mga sector. Kami, wala gyud,” he lamented.

Thus, the proposed measure seeks to establish the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council which shall formulate this economic sector’s development plan, coordinate its’ efforts with government agencies and other stakeholders, and other economic strategies while upholding intellectual property rights and providing support and incentives to achieve rapid growth in targeted sectors.

Chris Gomez’s bag featured in Hot for FAMPH (Fashion Accessories Makers of the Phils) Marketing Campaign supported by MEGA for FAMPH members during the pandemic.

This substitute bill to House Bills numbered 4692, 6476 and 5101 defines Creative Industries as those “involving persons, whether natural or juridical, that produce cultural, artistic, and innovative goods, products, and services, whether such goods, products and services originate in individual creativity, skill, or talent, and that have a potential for wealth and through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.”

This includes every person involved in creation, production and manufacturing, performance and broadcasting, communication and exhibition, and distribution and sale of works and other content.

Chris Gomez (center in white) with local designers who joined the HIMO Product Design Exhibit at CU Art Gallery.

“Dugay na gi-apil ang creative sector sa DTI. But here, we lack focus. Mao to na born ang certificate program for design competency to equip aspiring designers, and to sustain there must be program for them to practice,” Gomez said of a two-phase program in design competency he headed in tandem with the Misamis Oriental DTI provincial office and Capitol University under the Business Incubation and Support Center in 2018 and 2019.

“We wanted to have a more focused program for creatives with our partners to sustain their livelihood and professionalized their practice. And the only way to achieve this is to work together not only focusing on the SMEs products (food or non-food) but include our creatives in the journey.

Joe Bacus indie film Markado The Moon Devourer was screened in Japan

The Creative Domains defined under the bill include Audio and Audiovisual Media; Digital Interactive Media (New Media); Creative Service; Design; Cultural Sites; Books, Publishing, and Printed Media; Performing Arts; Traditional Cultural Expressions; Visual Arts; and Emerging Industries.

Groups and organizations accredited under the bill will enjoy the benefits of Private Sector Consultation; Creative Voucher Program to access government services, and access to R&D Support programs from DOST.

Ravenstagg, a Cagayan de Oro indie artist studio which paints miniatures has placed Cagayan de Oro in the Miniatures World Map.

Another related bill is the Freelance Workers Protection Act, which seeks to provide social protection to these workers, more just terms of employment and compensation, and an enumeration of the unlawful practices in freelancing.

“That’s why, we fight to professionalize our work. On our being freelance,” Gomez stressed.

“We want our sector to be part of that sustainable economy and lets suppport each other. Wala nila nakita nga tanan creatives also has big contribution to our economy. This the future of creative enterprise,” he noted.

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