Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares is urging show biz denizens to lobby in Congress for the passage of a bill that she filed to promote the country through film tourism.
“There are a lot of senators supporting us, but we also need to convince members of the Lower House of the bill’s importance and relevance,” the senator said of the bill that seeks to make the Philippines a prime destination for international productions. “We hope to showcase all the beautiful places in the country, not just the depressing ones.”
To make this happen, Llamanzares said, she would push for promotional funding for government-run agencies, like the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) “so they can better promote our products.”
Llamanzares cited an example. “They can give away promotional brochures, but for this plan to be effective, they have to join as many international film markets as they can.” She suggested the promotion of local content through film booths abroad.
In foreign film markets that she got to attend previously as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), she reported, “There were separate booths for the major broadcast networks—ABS-CBN, GMA 7 and TV5. What we should have is a single booth for the Philippines so that even our independent filmmakers can sell their products.”
Llamanzares is also one of the authors of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which will allow the public access to government records. “The media will have to play a very important role in informing the people about what government officials are doing,” she said.
The past year was “very busy and stressful” for her, said the daughter of the late action king Fernando Poe Jr. and drama actress Susan Roces. “I accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot to do. I have a big role to play (in the Senate) in the coming months.” Llamanzares topped the 2013 Senatorial race.
A mother of three, Llamanzares said balancing work and family life in 2013 was tough. “I’d really like to take things a little easier this year, to appreciate what’s going on around me,” she told the Inquirer.
The new lawmaker was among the special guests at the recent 39th Metro Manila Film Festival awards rites held at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City. She and son Brian presented the FPJ Memorial Award for Film Excellence to the Joyce Bernal action-drama “10,000 Hours.”