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Finally, subsidy for culture and the arts

It gives us much pride when the Filipino talent is recognized on a global stage. But our support for culture and the arts, and the creative industry as a whole, should not be limited to our praises and applauses. 

In fact, the World Economic Forum (WEF) says that cultural leaders and social innovators can work together to make a greater impact in our society. They can harness the power of creativity and storytelling to address some of the world’s greatest problems—using film to advocate for equal rights like Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu whose film Rafiki, which touches on LGBT rights, was the first Kenyan film to be invited to Cannes Film Festival; empowering differently abled persons through the arts, such as social entrepreneur Andreas Heinecke’s Dialogue in Dark, an exhibition that uses blind guides to lead visitors through settings in total darkness where they learn to interact without sight, helping change mindsets on disability; transforming communities by making spaces for creativity; building a more inclusive world through equal representation in media; and giving a voice to the voiceless through photography.

Here in our country, we are seeing stronger support for the development and promotion of the creative industries. 

Through Republic Act No. 11904, the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act (PCIDA), subsidy for the industry is now ensured.

The law, which was principally authored by Pangasinan Fourth District Representative Christopher “Toff” De Venecia, mandates the promotion and support for the development of the country’s creative industries as well as to protect and strengthen the rights of practitioners in the industry. 

In my previous conversation with Congressman Toff, he explained that the intent of the law is to create a Philippine Creative Industry Development Council (PCIDC) that must formulate and execute the Philippine Creative Industries Development Plan (PCIDP), which should “boost development of the creatives from womb to tomb — from the education and training of our young creative pool, to the incubation and production of creative content and ideas, all the way to post-production, marketing, dissemination, and even exportation of creative goods and services.”

Thus, the PCIDP will contain several support mechanisms geared to address the specific concerns in the creative ecosystem covering infrastructure, research and development, innovation, digitalization, financing, investment, and education, among others.

It will provide adequate support measures to the Philippine creative industries to help address challenges that they are facing, such as high output costs, fragmented education systems, piracy issues, lack of data and statistics, underdeveloped branding and infrastructure, and wide skill gaps and mismatch, to name a few.

The law also aims to spur efforts to sustain excellence in Filipinos’ creative endeavors through the protection of their intellectual property (IP) rights, among many other ways of support.

There are already a lot of efforts to support the creatives sector. In fact, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos is already paving the way — from her initiatives that help our traditional arts and crafts through “Likha;” support for local textile industry and Filipino fashion designers through various showcases;  support for museums, libraries, and heritage structures as vessels for the preservation and promotion of history, art, and culture; and her work with agencies of government such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), whom she had just recently met with.

The Council can look at how they can magnify and diversify these initiatives to cover different sectors of the creative industry.

As the PCIDA is still a very new law, we have yet to see and feel its effects on the creative sectors, but Filipinos in general, as consumers of the products of the creative industry must rally behind them, so that our praises and applauses would have deeper meaning for our creative citizens and cultural workers, and for our society as a whole. 

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