Aktor: Building a community of empowered actors (Conclusion) | Inquirer Entertainment

Aktor: Building a community of empowered actors (Conclusion)

/ 12:10 AM February 21, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic, the drafting of the Eddie Garcia Act, and the impending closure of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN were the “triggering factors” for the creation of Aktor: League of Filipino Actors in May 2020.

This was according to actress Jenny Jamora, who serves as head of Aktor’s research and policy committee.

Aktor is a SEC-registered nonprofit, nonstock organization that has Dingdong Dantes as chair of the board and Agot Isidro as president and CEO. Currently, its 135 members are actors from film and TV (including crossovers from theater).


“Through Aktor, we now have proper representation in Congress,” Jamora told Inquirer Entertainment. “We attend and listen to the meetings of the members of our House of Representatives in order to … [promote] better working conditions in our industry. Dong, (actor-producer) Bart Guingona, Agot, and Iza Calzado were all present at the meetings in Congress. That was also a triggering factor for us to come together.”


Iza Calzado

Among the key projects that Aktor is developing for its members’ welfare are related to education (workshops and crafts, Aktor-skwela), wellness (medical insurance, mental health program, retirement plan), professional needs (finance management, taxation, and digital life), and community (socials, Aktor peer awards, regional outreach programs, fundraisers, auctions, and Aktor Tindahan).

Zeroing on Aktor’s health-care program, Jamora said the organization “is already in talks with various health-care providers to be able to come up with a plan that’s appropriate and affordable for all the members.”Jamora explained that the approach to this program is two-pronged. “There’s the plan, but there’s also the fundraising. Aktor would like to subsidize some of the health-care plans of all its members. Fingers crossed—that’s really a dream,” she added. “There are lots of talks going between the membership committee (with Andoy Ranay as head) and possible health-care providers.”

Ron Capinding

Vice chair Ron Capinding said the pandemic has helped fast-track the creation of Aktor, “because it gave the actors time to reflect and talk. Yes, we would talk for hours on end. These days, since most have gone back to work, the schedule is more difficult but at least we have already delegated the work. We have now become a well-oiled machine,” he observed.

Board member Calzado said Aktor’s mancom would have a weekly face-to-face meeting, the last one even lasted for over three hours. “We simply started with Zoom meetings. Now, we have several committees. We have people working really hard to achieve this group’s collective dream,” she said. “Our vision is to empower. With these meetings that began in May, I feel that I’ve learned so much.”

Jamora added that they even once had a “snap meeting” with the entire membership present. “This was in relation to the red-tagging issue. We immediately launched the ‘Red Lipstick’ campaign,” she reported.

Dantes pointed out that the credit for forming Aktor should not just go to its founders, but also to its 135-strong members, “Who all went through a rigid orientation program. They were made to understand the heart and soul of the organization and they all agreed to its fundamental principles. They embraced the reason they joined and their contributions to the org.”


He further said: “In terms of this being our ‘legacy,’ it should first be a responsibility of everybody. Legacy should merely be its aftereffect. For example, I’m a performer and it’s my responsibility to continuously improve my craft. The workshops and research, don’t stop. This is something that Aktor is offering. If I empower myself, if I equip myself with more tools as an actor, I will be able to do more. We start with that; and then with the right amount of commitment, dedication and passion, we hope to achieve that legacy status.”

We asked each of the Aktor officers what they wish for the organization to achieve some 10 years from now. Dantes placed emphasis on education, while Calzado zeroed in on health and wellness. Jamora discussed her dream of the industry being properly represented in government, while Capinding expressed his desire for the industry to be “dignified by the country as a contributor to nation-building.”

Dingdong Dantes

Dantes said that 10 years from now, he hoped that Aktor Academy would already be built and running. “I hope that, by then, it’s not just helping our community of actors, but also fulfilling its mandate to reach out to nonactors, those who want to learn and improve on their craft because they hope to be part of the industry later on,” he pointed out. “If education is at the forefront, we can achieve so much. The possibilities in terms of growth will be endless.”

Dantes further explained: “My focus is not just my personal growth, but that of the organization and for its members to be active participants in nation-building. More than being actors, we are Filipinos. We want to strengthen our characteristics as Filipinos through education.”

Calzado added: “While we are Filipinos first before we are actors, I also want to say that we are human beings first. The well-being of each member is important to me. We cannot guarantee that we can always completely protect it, but we would like to strive for that.”

She said one of the things that she’s really looking forward to is the creation of the Aktor’s retirement village. “It’s a community of artists who still want to feel valued, who can still create in some way. Perhaps, it can be a social enterprise. We don’t want to hear that someone from the community is asking for donations, or is in need of medical aid, or does not have a place to stay. This is my dream, and I would love to see it come to fruition. It’s only a matter of when.”

Jenny Jamora

Jamora, on the other hand, said she would like for Aktor to be a stakeholder of a government-mandated department of arts, culture, and the creative industry. “We want to be part of the team that would organize it. We want this particular department to be inclusive—even the animators, cartoonists and writers should be part of it. We want to all be part of this department that will take care of our culture and heritage. I hope to see all of us working together under a department that’s organized, diplomatic, democratic, and hopefully, without too much politics despite being surrounded by a political environment.”

Meanwhile, Capinding pointed to the success of South Korea in promoting its arts and culture, and the fact that it now recognizes its actors as an important factor in strengthening its economy.

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“South Korean actors are treated with respect, not only because they are entertainers. They have a say on how people there should live, on how their leaders should behave,” he observed. “I hope that in 10 years, Aktor would also be a group that Filipinos would listen to, that they would consult with. All this because of what we’ve proven and accomplished today.”

TAGS: Actors, Aktor

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