OPM to stop ‘Mamma Mia!’ if million-peso fee not paid
MANILA, Philippines—The Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) is considering filing an injunction or temporary restraining order against the local promoter of the international touring production of the long-running West End and Broadway musical, “Mamma Mia!,” set to open Jan. 24 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Elmar Beltran Ingles, OPM executive director, told the Inquirer on Friday that the local promoter Concertus Inc. had not paid the equity clearance, a requirement for all foreign artists performing in the Philippines, which is bound by a memorandum of agreement between the singers’ union and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
“We’ve been talking with the promoter since November last year and were willing to give a 20-percent discount because the amount due is P1.8 million which is huge,” said Beltran.
The equity clearance fee—P5,000 per performer per show—Beltran said, goes to the OPM fund that pays for medical treatment and other emergency expenses of singer members.
But Concertus managing director Bambi Verzo said the BI had issued a special permit for the performers in the musical, which will have a four-week run. “We were being charged double [from the original amount of P900,000] because OPM said December to February is a peak season for local shows. We discussed the situation with the BI.”
Verzo told the Inquirer that her office paid the bureau P367,000 for the special permit.
She did not explain why she paid an amount much lower than the OPM’s asking price.
Beltran pointed out that the amount does not cover the equity clearance. “We suspect something happened inside the BI without the knowledge of the top officials,” he said. “Ogie Alcasid (OPM president) has been trying to contact the immigration commissioner (Ricardo David Jr.) but it seems his calls are being ignored. We may bring the matter to the attention of President Aquino.”
Verzo, whose group has produced other international productions including “Cats” and “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” also at the CCP, said she didn’t see a problem. “We have the official permit, including the receipt of payment. That should settle the issue.”
Beltran said OPM will wait until Monday for Concertus to meet with them.
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