The city of Manila denied the request of segments of the local film industry to hold a demonstration-rally along the route of the Parade of Stars on Sunday, December 22, to kick off the annual Metropolitan Manila Film Festival (Philippines).
The bulk of rallyists planned to converge on the new monument of King of Philippine Cinema Fernando Poe Jr. in Plaza Ferguzon on Roxas boulevard where the parade of floats of the eight entries in this year’s festival will pass on its way to the Quirino Grandstand. The parade will originate from the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
It is reported that the officer-in-charge of the Parks Development Office, Arsenio A. Lacson Jr. interposes objection to the fore cited request and relayed this to Ms. Senen D. Tomada, assistant director of the bureau of permits of Manila.
Lacson explained: “Please be informed that the Clean and Green status of said public park is always the prime concern of the City Government of Manila, and correspondingly, conducting such activity therein will apparently defeat the purpose why parks and plazas were constructed and established.”
Before receiving the disapproval for the permit, Film Academy of the Philippines Director-General Leo G. Martinez briefed guild members about the rally before the screening of Tinik at the Ta Ma Ng Theater at Mowelfund Plaza at noon on Friday, December 20. The previews of films have been going on for eight days now since December 4.
The rally is meant to air the demands of the local film industry for the return of the management and supervision of the MMFFP filmfest to the local film industry instead of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. During the early years of the filmfest, Mowelfund was handling the annual filmfest event.
Director General Martinez told the assembled Academy citers that getting back management of the filmfest by the local film industry is necessary because of the dwindling shares of the beneficiaries of the amusement tax proceeds from the annual filmfests.
Martinez added that a Commission of Audit report which was released in 2010 proved that the beneficiaries are not getting the full amount of amusement tax proceeds which the COA estimated was short of P82 million during the years 2002 to 2008.
The FAP head said he has already reiterated his request to MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino to answer the letter the FAP forwarded to him last October 14 seeking clarification regarding the Commission on Audit report on the 2002-2008 MMFF funds managed by MMDA.
The Academy, in effect, requested that Chairman Tolentino follow the ruling of COA in 2010 to deposit in trust the amusement tax collected during the festival period.
There are two sources of income during the MMFF, the amusement tax and the price increase (non-tax revenue) and the COA report alleged the amount turned over to beneficiaries (which include FAP, Mowelfund, FDCP, Optical Media Board and Anti-Film Piracy Council) from 2002 to 2008 was P82.787 million short.
The October 14 FAP letter to Chairman Tolentino, as signed by DG Martinez, explained:
“It is in this connection that we are bringing up our long standing request for MMDA to recognize and implement the Commission on Audit’s findings and recommendations based on a September 2009 special audit it conducted of the MMFF Funds for CYs 2002-2008 as managed by the MMDA. One of its findings is that the MMFF disbursed amounts out of the amusement tax proceeds of the MMFF to the detriment of the intended beneficiaries, resulting in a much decreased percentage of the total fund being divided among the recipients. COA cited this is a violation of MMC EO 86-09 pertaining to the donation of all amuse- taxes during the ten day period that should accrue to the MMFF Executive Committee as Trustee pending identification of beneficiaries.”
“Simply said, the MMFF has been charging expenses against the amusement tax collection which should not be used for other intentions except for sharing by beneficiaries.”
“In spite of the COA findings and despite our constant effort to remind the MMDA/MMFF management about this, the MMFF still continues to deplete the amusement tax proceeds by charging festival expenses against it. What is deplorable is that the amount of festival expenses keep growing so that even as the income from the amusement tax keep getting bigger every year, the beneficiaries’ shares continue to dwindle even more.”
“We are asking once again for MMDA/MMFF managements to respect the COA finding and desist from this uncaring practice of using the amusement tax proceed to run the festival activities. For once, we would like the beneficiaries to get the rightful shares due us.”
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