The board of Governors of the Film Academy of the Philippines has requested President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to reconsider the recent Malacanang decision to slash the share-allocation of the academy in the proceeds of the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Immediately after an emergency BOG meeting last Thursday, February 2, a letter expressing the FAP’s position was drafted, signed and transmitted to Malacanang the following day.
Under the new allocation-sharing scheme, the FAP and the Motion Pictures Anti-Piracy Council of the Philippines will receive a share of 10 percent each from the MMFF proceeds from a previous share-allocation of 30 percent.
The new scheme will cause an immense slash in the budgets of the two organizations as the MMFF proceeds is their only source of financing annually. In effect, the usual P9 million budget will be cut down to just P3 million annually.
The FAP has requested the President to restore the former share-allocation scheme which has been in effect these past many years.
Reprinted hereunder is the complete letter (dated February 2, 2006) which was transmitted to the President:
HER EXCELLENCY GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Dear Madame President,
We received yesterday a letter from Mr. Vicente del Rosario, Jr., attaching thereto a letter from Exec. Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, revising the shares of the proceeds from the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival. Specifically, he shaved the allocations of MMFF’s beneficiaries, the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) and the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, from 30% to 10% each, allocating at the same time the said reductions to the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Optical Media Board at 20% each.
In view of this, Madame President, we, from the Film Academy of the Philippines, the Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council, together with the officers and members of the various guilds of producers, theatre owners, of production, artistic and technical workers that make the Philippine film industry, would like to put forward our strong objection to the aforesaid re-allocation of the 2005 festival revenues.
The organization of the MMFF has always been for the benefit of the FAP, the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) and the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council. History has always acknowledged these three groups as the official recipients because the movie producers and cinema owners/operators who participate in the MMFF are their members. Accordingly, these three beneficiaries have worked hard and have exerted effort and time working with MMDA to make MMFF profitable so that the proceeds can help uplift the local film industry and the bigger community of movie workers. The yearly MMFF share is our lifeblood.
We deplore, therefore, Mr. del Rosario’s meddling with the MMFF allocations and his blatant disregard for the welfare of the film industry and its people.
The proceeds of the MMFF is the only regular fund that provides for the operations of the three recipients. It is the only regular fund that helps provide for the numerous projects and programs of the local film industry. Take it away or reduce it substantially and you kill us.
• Mr. del Rosario has no authority to create at will new recipients to the MMFF, in this case the FDCP and the OMB. Worse, he is taking the meager funds of the recipients to give to his recipients of choice which are government offices created by law and with budgets from the General Appropriations Act.
• The money gained from the festival comes from the amusement taxes. This is money from the local government units. It is the mayors’ gesture of support to the film industry. To our mind, it is not right for such funds to be funnelled to national offices that can sustain themselves with their budgets from the GAA.
• We also believe that it does not sit well that he would give preference to increasing the funds of FDCP, considering that he handpicked and had its current Chairman, appointed by Your Excellency. It is evident even that no study of FDCP’s legal background has been made. For the record, we may as well cite Sec. 17 of RA 9167: An Act Creating the Film Development Council of the Philippines, to wit: Sec 17. Authority to Accept Donations – The Council may accept donations, contributions, grants, bequests or gifts, in cash or in kind, from various sources, domestic or foreign, except from movie producers and distributors for purposes relevant to its functions.
• And beyond legal consideration, Madame President, FDCP and OMB never helped in the operation of the MMFF. The proceeds this year have improved. Yet Mr. del Rosario would take it away from those who worked hard for it to give to on-lookers. This is not just unethical, it is how a bully works.
Madame President, we denounce any effort by Mr. del Rosario to manipulate the MMFF Sharing Scheme to suit his own selfish ends. We, the beneficiaries are amenable to changes, but for the proceeds to be distributed according to what was previously agreed: 40% to MOWELFUND, 30% to FAP and 30% to the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council. Should Mr. del Rosario’s scheme be implemented, we would rather, Madame President, close shop, or perhaps struggle to survive through our own means without government support no matter how painful and difficult it may be.
And finally, Madame President, we would like to state through this letter that we do not and have not recognized Mr. del Rosario as the spokesman for the local film industry. As Presidential Consultant, he does not represent our interest, has not deigned to consult us on our needs and has not provided our members the necessary support to enable the Philippine Motion Picture Industry to sustain and shield its existence from collapse due to over-taxation and overwhelming competition from the unlimited entry and distribution of foreign films.
As always, we rely on your Excellency’s fair judgement to keep our film industry alive and protect the business and employment of our members from extinction.
Very respectfully yours,
LEO G. MARTINEZ
ATTY. ESPIRIDION D. LAXA
The other signatories were John S. Suarez, executive secretary; Manuel B. Morfe Treasurer/President, Production Designers Guild of the Phils; Eddie Romero, Senior Adviser; Robert Arevalo, Adviser; Manuel Nuqui, President, Phil. Motion Picture Producers Assn. Inc.; Wilson Y. Tieng, Movie Producers and Distributors Assn. Of the Phils; William Mayo, President, Kapisanan ng mga Direktor ng Pelikulang Pilipino; Jeorge Estregan, President, Kapisanan ng mga Artistang Pilipino sa Pelikula at Telebisyon; Antonio Ramos, President, Assistant Directors and Production Managers Guild of the Phils.; Pablo S. Gomez, President, Screenwriters Guild of the Phils.; Isagani Sioson, President, Filipino Society of Cinematographers; Jesus Navarro, President, United Film Editors Guild of the Phils.; Josefino Cenizal, President, United Film Musical Directors of the Phils.; Rolly Ruta, President, Sound Technicians for Motion Pictures; Boots Anson-Roa, Executive Director, Mowelfund; Johnny Delgado, President, Actors Workshop Foundation; and Zahn Garduce, President, Organization of Specialized Filipino Filmmakers.