Theater community thanks Creative Industries Act
MANILA – “We did it!”
Rep. Christopher “Toff” of Venecia from Pangasinan’s 4th District told ABS-CBN News on Friday afternoon, July 29, after learning earlier that day that the Creative Industries Bill, which he was leading principal author, had become law.
De Venecia was also re-elected chair of the House Select Committee on Creative Industries and the Performing Arts.
Now called Republic Act No. 11904, or the Philippine Creative Industries Act, it aims to protect the rights, provide more security and benefits to artists, writers, performers, indigenous cultural communities, fashion designers, manufacturers jewelry and furniture designers, architects, even video game designers, among other industry players.
The law also requires the creation of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council, the main industry decision-making body that will implement the Philippine Creative Industries Development Plan. The board will have 19 members – 10 ex-officio members from government agencies and nine from the private sector.
De Venecia told ABS-CBN News that he introduced the bill in November 2020, when the country was still grappling with massive problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 10 months later, it passed the final reading in the Lower House.
On May 23 this year, the Senate approved the bill at third and final reading during its hybrid plenary session with 21 affirmative votes, no negative votes and no abstentions.
The good news was well received by the local theater community, whose speakers are almost all freelancers.
Before becoming a civil servant, De Venecia was an active theater producer and director. He was co-founder of The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical.
Among the first to react was Fernando Josef, a veteran multiplatform actor.
Josef, Artistic Director of Tanghalang Pilipino, told ABS-CBN News: “In 1992, we Filipino artists and cultural workers celebrated the enactment of Republic Act 7356, which established the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). This law was what one might call “food for the soul and spirit of Filipino artists”. Today, the same industry, along with others sympathetic to us, celebrates again with the enactment of this new Republic Act 11904 or the Creative Industries Development Act.
Josef added: “This new law will hopefully be both ‘food for our soul and spirit’ and ‘food for the stomach’. Sana lang, huwag gamitin taong gobyerno and ng negosyante for their own personal satisfaction. May this law fully benefit Filipino artists, arts educators, and cultural workers who are hardworking, dedicated, selfless, people-centered, and nationalistic.
Among those who actively lobbied for the bill were members and officers of the Philippine Theater Actors Guild, Inc. or TAG PH. It is a decade-old association of professional theater actors in the Philippines, organized to represent theater actors in all kinds of forums, including contracts, and to ensure that their interests are well represented. and protected by law.
“TAG PH thanks Hon. Toff de Venecia for his efforts and perseverance in getting this law passed and involving us in the process. We hope that the eventual Creative Industries Development Council will pursue its vision and work with all sectors, no matter how obscure, to make everyone sustainable in their own way,” Jenny Jamora, President of TAG PH, told ABS- CBN News.
Chris Millado, who recently retired as Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), said, “This development is revolutionary for the arts and culture industry. Artists will now be able to claim their position as the engine of the economy and be recognized as a sector with its distinct qualities that must be protected, supported and strengthened with resources and incentives to thrive like any other industry.
“The enactment of the law will encourage the sustained growth of the arts and culture sector and make it competitive with other vibrant creative industries around the world. Congratulations Cong. Toff who spearheaded this and everyone who helped bring this into law,” said Millado, who is also festival director for this year’s Cinemalaya independent film festival, which begins August 5-14.
Lawyer Judie Rose Dimayuga, a scholar of TP Actors’ Company, told ABS-CBN News, “As a lawyer and cultural worker, I am thrilled that this law has been signed into law. This law solidifies the reality that art is a profession. It also offers artists additional support that guarantees the protection of their rights such as their economic rights and their intellectual property rights.
She added, “That the law requires the organization of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council and that it must be composed of members from the public and private sectors; and that the government will provide the annual funding necessary to implement the provisions of this law, are evidence of the state’s recognition that the government and the private sector must work together to ensure that the creative industries in the Philippines continue to thrive. in our country also as widening for international recognition.
When asked further if the law becomes immediately enforceable, Dimayuga replied, “Essentially batas na po siya. However, we still have to wait for it to be published in the Official Journal or two popular newspapers — and then from the date of publication, we count 15 days po para maging effective na po sya.
“It is a constitutional requirement to ensure that all Filipinos in the Philippines will have time to know of the existence of the law and read its contents,” she added.
Michael Stuart Williams, creative director of Full House Theater Company, is grateful for the good news.
“Congratulations to Congressman Toff for his tireless efforts to make this happen! It’s been a long time coming, and now this recognition will foster more growth, development, and protection for those who are professional practitioners in the creative industries.” is an important recognition of a sector that has long contributed strongly to nation building, but has been largely ignored,” he said.
Acclaimed playwright Rody Vera is also very pleased with what happened. A veteran not only of the stage but also of the streets, he has been fighting for workers’ rights since martial law.
“In the early 2000s, I was already saying that for the arts to develop and flourish, the government must support them as it must support other industries. By giving not only incentives but more to perceive it as an industry that also develops the economy,” he told ABS-CBN News in an online post.
“The creations of Daming ang lumalabas [ng bansa at ng industriya] it is a viable industry, comparable to the service, manufacturing and agricultural industries. Many of our OFWs are creative artists (singers, performers and many more). Sana itong batas na ito will finally accomplish this,” Vera said.
Audie Gemora, President of Philstage or Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group, the alliance of 16 professional companies in the theatrical arts, said: ‘Those of us in the performing arts are thrilled with the passage of the bill. on the creative arts valiantly initiated by Congressman Toff. ”
“Many of us practitioners were well consulted and able to give input as it was developed. Filipinos are exceptionally creative. It is high time for the government to recognize this great potential and take full advantage of it as Korea has done,” he added.
Gemora is also the co-founder of Trumpets, Inc., a three-and-a-half-year-old professional gospel theater group.
Bart Guingona, Founder and Artistic Director of Actors Actors Inc./The Necessary Theatre, said, “Of course, it’s a real cause for celebration! We’ve been lobbying for this since the Arroyo years and having Toff in the lower house finally made it happen!
“We have always maintained that if this had happened earlier, we would surely have been ahead of South Korea, which recognized early on the potential of the creative industries to wield soft power. I had the privilege of being part of the team to help with lobbying efforts. Mabuhay ang manililikhang Pilipino! Guingona added.
ABS-CBN News tried to gather more comment from other stakeholders, but at the time of publication said they had not yet read the law in its entirety.
Naturally, De Venecia is the happiest with the recent development. He told ABS-CBN via Facebook Messenger, “We will work with the appropriate government agencies and the private sector to develop the rules and regulations to implement this newly enacted law, and ensure that the council is convened immediately, that the secretariat be assembled to help with the day-to-day business of the council, and that the programs enshrined in the act will be funded in the 2023 budget and beyond.
“We are confident that with the President’s special mention of the creative industry in his very first SONA as well as the need to institutionalize a policy for the well-being of the freelance workers, that the creative sector will finally be a priority in the years to come. coming. A lot of work lies ahead of us but we have to keep fighting for our creative future,” added De Venecia.