Last May, the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, chaired by Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., held a public hearing on two bills seeking to remove the operation and management of the Metropolitan Manila Film Festival from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Exactly six months later, it is time to ask whatever happened to these senate bills?
The bills were Senate Bill 2041of Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada which seeks to transfer to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) the management of the Metro Manila Filmfest; and Senate Bill 2218 of Sen. Revilla which seeks to transfer the same Filmfest to the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
Senate Bill 2041 was officially filed on January 31, 2008 while Bill 2218 was filed on April 29, 2008.
Senate Bill 2041is titled as: An Act Transferring the Organization, Operation and Management of the Metro Manila Film Festival from the Metro Manila Development Authority to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), and Providing Funds therefor and for Other Purposes.
Senate Bill 2218 is titled as: An Act Transferring the Organization, Operation and Management of the Metro Manila Film Festival from the Metro Manila Development Authority to the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and Prodiving Funds Therefore and for other Purposes.
The explanatory note of Senator Estrada reasoned out that the filing of the bill is necessitated by the fact that “the yearly implementor and organizer of the MMFF, which is the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), does not come from the movie and film industry and as such, cannot relate to the real sentiments of the people working with the industry.”
“The MMDA, in the first place, has no legal basis to operate and manage the MMFF as its charter, RA 7924, is silent on the matter. The predecessor of the MMDA, the Metropolitan Manila Commission, by tradition, manages the operation of the MMFF, but this function was not carried in the present MMDA charter,” Senator Estrada stressed.
In his explanatory note, Senator Revilla wrote: “The MMFF, despite the benefits it gives to the local film industry and its players, is now hounded by controversies. There have been reports that the funds earned from the festival are being mishandled. There is also a concern that the distribution for the beneficiaries of the earnings are not clear.”
He further added: “Being an artist myself, I believe that such festival can be better be handled by an organization that carries the best appreciation and perception of the film industry. The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), being the lead government agency that is mandated to oversee the concerns and interests of the whole film industry, comes as the most fitting and appropriate entity to take charge of the organization, operation and management of the MMFF.”
Both Senate Bills stipulate that the net income from the amusement Tax rebate of the annual Metropolitan Manila Film Festival shall be distributed to the following traditional beneficiaries: MOWELFUND, 40 percent; FAP, 40 percent; and Anti-Film Piracy Council, 20 percent.
With Congress resuming sessions on Nov. 10, it is possible that we will see some action on these senate bills. The 2008 MMFF may still be run and managed by the MMDA but the possibility of the MOWELFUND or the FDCP taking over is still something we can hope for.
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