The Film Academy’s board of governors formed a special committee to study options and possible measures the FAP may implement in view of the drastic cut in its share of the Metro Manila Film Festival proceeds.
The slash of its share from 30 percent to 10 percent, as revised by Malacanang, will entail a possible transfer of its offices (now at the ground floor of the OctoArts building on Panay Avenue, Q.C.) and cuts in the salaries of academy officers and employees, as well as the monthly subsidies for the various guilds comprising the Academy.
The special committee is composed of Deputy Director General Jesse Ejercito, Treasurer Manny Morfe (president of the Production Designers’ Guild of the Philippines), Exec. Secretary John Suarez (vice-president of the MPDAP), Rollie Ruta (president of STAMP) and Isagani Sioson (president of the Filipino Society of Cinematographers).
The committee is given one week to come up with recommendations regarding the possible transfer of FAP offices and the financial measures under discussion.
The BOG meeting was held last Wednesday, May 24, following the announcement of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando during the MMFFP Execom meeting that the FAP request for the restoration of its 30% share has been denied by Malacanang.
Malacanang has however approved a P3 million assistance fund, remittable in two tranches of P1.5 million each, for the Academy from its social fund.
The social fund, which regularly has a 10% share of the MMFFP proceeds, is now partaking of a 35% share, which is equal to that of MOWELFUND which previously drew a 30% share of MMFFP proceeds. The Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council which also had a 30% share previously, now gets only a 5% share.
Two national government agencies—the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Optical Media Board—now get 10% and 5% share respectively.
FAP Director General Leo G. Martinez says it is inevitable that the Academy adopt measures to cope with the effects of the slash in its budget. He, however, assures that its educational programs for film workers will still be funded. He added that salary cuts will also be resorted to…and even the outright pruning of its staff.
He explained that current expenses of the Academy amounts to P500,000 a month. But with only P3 million to be expected from the MMFFP proceeds, then the Academy should only be spending P250,000 a month, he pointed out.
Martinez says the academy will work out ways and means to generate funds to fill the expected shortfall in its annual budget. He says that Malacanang has already issued a directive to give the department of Education the power to exercise oversight function over the Academy.
In this manner, funding from government officials like senators, specially the three actors in the chamber who are stymied by the absence of a conduit to funnel funds to the Academy, can now course these thru DepEd.