The trick is getting the right people to do the job
Editor’s Note: Starting June 25, the Inquirer will run on its print, online, and social media platforms a series of stories, reports and commentaries on the socioeconomic impact – positive and negative – that President Duterte has made in his first year in office. The articles will focus on how the former Davao City mayor has coped with the challenges of the presidency in five major areas that Filipinos consider most important in their lives: peace and order, traffic, economy, governance and foreign policy. This evaluation of the administration’s achievements and shortcomings will take into account what Mr. Duterte had promised to do during last year’s presidential campaign, his June 30 inaugural speech and his July 25 State of the Nation Address.
(Second of a series)
(Editor’s note: What has President Duterte accomplished for the local entertainment industry one year after his ascent to the country’s highest office? Does he get a passing or failing grade? Inquirer Entertainment lets Tinseltown’s movers, shakers and insiders do the talking—and assessing.)
Ninety percent of getting any work done is getting the right people to do it.
This was according to National Cinema Committee (NCCinema) chair Teddy Co in assessing the appointment of show biz personalities by President Rodrigo Duterte to various government positions. Specifically, he considered the appointment of actress Liza Diño as chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) “pivotal.”
At least four of the agency heads the Inquirer interviewed to assess the President’s performance in his first year mentioned their collaborations with the FDCP. These include the NCCinema, the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP) and the National Youth Commission (NYC). Only the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) cited a specific example of a “significant change” that happened in the agency during Duterte’s term.
Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP)
While he may have failed to enumerate any FAP projects launched during Duterte’s term, FAP director general Leo Martinez said he would fully support the FDCP’s effort in audience development through film education in schools and in the communities, as well as in the promotion of film production in the regions.
The FAP also backs the FDCP’s bid in making August “another film festival month,” according to Martinez. He was referring to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival organized by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) held in December, wherein only local films are screened for about two weeks beginning Christmas Day.
The FDCP recently launched the “Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino,” to be held from Aug. 16 to 22, with mechanics similar to the MMFF. Some 790 cinemas from all over the country will screen Filipino films exclusively for a whole week.
Martinez noted that progress “is taking its time.” This was why, he “suggested” that the FDCP organize an industry summit where “we can talk about industry concerns.”
He cited a total of six issues that needed to be addressed: 1) the creation of a business plan to develop the domestic film market and identify a market niche within the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the world; 2) the creation of a “royalty scheme” for film workers, as opposed to intellectual property protection currently being provided by the Optical Media Board (OMB); 3) the drafting of an industry agreement on the fixed length of skilled laborers’ working hours, and the improvement of their work conditions; 4) strengthening the executive order creating the Philippine Film Export Services Office (Pfeso), which is a one-stop shop for film production; 5) upgrading the skills of members of the “creative and technical guilds” in the industry, as well as upgrading equipment support, especially in TV and film production; and 6) the revision of the law that mandates the creation of the MMFF in order to “level the playing field for giant networks and small producers.”
National Commission on Cinema (NCCinema)
The NCCinema is under the Subcommission on the Arts (SCA), one of 19 national committees of NCCA—a policy-making body and a grants-giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture.
Co, who was chosen as chair of the 11-member NCCinema in March, explained that while the NCCA has been the government’s “coordinating body for culture and the arts, some areas related to the performing arts and cinema inevitably intersect with other sectors of government.”
He identified the process of requesting permits from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) “as the biggest albatross around the neck (of the NCCA) in the past two years… These permits are what artists have to comply with in order to get … government grants.”
A total of 62 projects were canceled last year as a result of the failure to secure DSWD permits, Co reported. “Due to lobbying by NCCA leadership, and also in line with the President’s directive to cut government red tape, this onerous DSWD permit has been rescinded,” Co stressed. “So now it will be easier again for artists and cultural workers to get NCCA funding.”
Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP)
SGP president Moises Anthony “Eseng” Cruz commended the FDCP for the creation of the program called Cine Lokal in April.
“Through this project, producers of digital/indie films are given the opportunity to be shown to a wider audience,” Cruz pointed out. For the next three years, independently produced films will be screened in eight SM Cinema branches all over the country through an agreement that the FDCP signed with SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc.
Cruz said he also hoped Duterte would meet with industry leaders, particularly the heads of various guilds under the FAP. “I’m sure they have a lot to tell the President in terms of how to improve the entertainment industry. There will be a lot of positive changes if we all work together,” Cruz declared.
He likewise expressed the need to have a series of lectures on film appreciation, especially in the grade school level “where intelligent viewership should be taught first.”
National Youth Commission (NYC)
While the NYC continues to implement its regular mandated programs concerning the youth, Chair Aiza Seguerra said the commission has also “strengthened ties with the NCCA and FDCP through various cultural advocacies.”
Among these is the Sine Kabataan Short Film Competition, which likewise involves the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
“We believe that filmmaking is a potent medium that the youth can utilize as an opportunity to express more creatively their sentiments on issues confronting their generation,” the NYC chief told the Inquirer.
The 10 or 12 shorts that will make it as finalists will be showcased along with full-feature counterparts during the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino in August.
The short films must be about any of the following issues: health (teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, mental health), education (out-of-school youth, bullying, lack of access), security and peace building (youths in conflict with law, youth in conflicted areas, youth in peace building), and family values (domestic violence, abandonment, effects of migration).
“These will be the stories behind the data and statistics on the youth that the various government agencies have been showing us,” Seguerra pointed out, adding that the NYC would also tour the films in schools around the country.
(To be continued)
Explore on our special anniversary site the Inquirer series of multiplatform reports and commentaries on the gains and challenges during President Duterte's first year in office. Daily content begins June 25 till July 24.
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