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MMFF feats indicate sound management of funds, says Tolentino

/ 02:25 PM January 17, 2014

Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—The “record-breaking” achievements of the latest Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) indicate proper handling of funds amid allegations that millions of amusement taxes have yet to reach intended beneficiaries, an official said Friday.

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino said in an Inquirer Radio 990 AM interview that critics should instead look at the accomplishments of the MMDA, the lead organizer of the festival.

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For one, Tolentino cited the P1 billion income in the latest film festival, higher than the P767 million earned the previous year.

“Hindi naman po sa pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko, record-breaking ang festival na ito eh… Na nagpapatunay na maganda ang management. (I don’t want to boast, but the festival is record-breaking, which proves that there is proper management), ” Tolentino said.

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He clarified, however, that he does not want to bicker with the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), which earlier asked the Quezon City court to compel MMFF organizers to release some P82.7 million in amusement tax collections from previous festivals that have yet to reach beneficiaries like ordinary workers in the movie industry.

Tolentino also noted the initiatives of the MMDA to add animated features, independent film entries, and films shot with cellular phones (“cinephone”) in the festival, as well as their move to organize an Asean International Film Festival with Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.

“Sana po maunawaan nila na may kontribusyon naman tayo kahit papaano for the past years. (I hope they understand that we still contributed somehow in the past years),” Tolentino said.

In 2014, Tolentino said the MMDA plans to institute a film archive with free access.

Tolentino added that the MMDA is not a beneficiary of the MMFF fund.
According to an executive order of the MMDA’s precursor the Metro Manila Commission, the amusement tax should be remitted to the MMFF executive committee as a trustee of the funds for the festival beneficiaries.

MMFF executive committee spokesperson Marichu Maceda earlier said the taxes were all intact and properly distributed to beneficiaries.

She added that there may be a decrease in distributed funds due to a reduced tax rate in some Metro Manila cities.

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The film festival was launched in 1975 to raise money for low-income workers in the movie industry, mostly members of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund) Inc.

Other identified beneficiaries are the FAP, the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council (MPAFPC), the Optical Media Board (OMB), and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

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TAGS: Metro Manila Film Festival, MMFF
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