Mar 07
FOR A WORKER-FRIENDLY FILM & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY by webmaster  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, Mar 7, 2007

By Leo G. Martinez
Director General, Film Academy of the Philippines

(Second of four parts)

Worker-friendly in the sense that it provides for the workers’ continuing skills development

[] Implementation of a comprehensive continuing education program for the creative and technical guilds

The Film Academy of the Philippines has already developed a plan for
a continuing education program for the working guilds which membership covers all creative and technical workers involved in film production.

The program aims to develop film production-specific training curricula and syllabi that can be applied on a continuing basis for the filmmakers and filmworkers in the industry, as well as to implement the training curricula regularly. The program needs to undergo specific validation processes to:

–Inventory skills and competencies of existing creative and technical workers
–Identify current training needs per production sector
–Validate effectiveness of planned training program
–Identify training resources
–Develop continuity scheme of the education program

The need right now is continuous and fixed funding to ensure that
the education program can be maintained year after year, with validation being done at certain phases of the program.

[] Provision of fund and equipment support for individual guilds’ development programs

FAP has time and again requested fund support from government officials the likes of senators and congressmen, who have the budgetary wherewithal purposely for educational programs and acquisition of equipment for training purposes. To upgrade the skills of our film editors, cinematographers and sound technicians, the acquisition of current film production equipment is vital and necessary.

While most government officials have agreed to assist by allocating funds from their budgets, they have not been able to do so because of budgetary regulations that disallow transfer of funds unless your purposes is in the Department of Budget and Management’s menu. Transfer of funds can be done but the procedure is tedious and circuitous that in the three years that FAP has been requesting for the funds, none as yet has been received. It is necessary to undertake a coordinative consultation with the proper govern-ment agency that can advice and help facilitate transactions of this nature or suggest procedures that will elicit the same results.

[] Reactivation of the remittance to FAP of P0.05 from the P 0.25 cultural tax

The FAP needs funds to be able to actively and continuously enforce
its education program. The FAP which was created by EO 640-A in 1981 is a semi-government entity but without any regular funding component. It is unfortunate that the funding source provided it by the government has proven to be ineffectual.

In 1981, its funding was provided by the then Metro Manila Commission (MMC) from the P 0.25 Cultural Tax collected from moviegoers in theaters in the 17 cities and municipalities covered by the MMC. Under this arrangement, the Mayors have agreed that P0.05 from the P0.25 Cultural Tax shall go to the Film Academy of the Philippines. FAP was the recipient of the yearly mandated share until its discontinuance for reasons unknown in 1984. FAP is now taking the initiative to regain the P0.05 from the P 0.25 cultural tax including its lump sum from 1981 to present by approaching each and every mayor of the cities and municipalities now covered by the Metro Manila Development Authority.

[] Revert to 30% the share of FAP in the MMFF, these funds to be utilized in providing educational programs for the industry workers

When the remittances from MMC stopped in 1984, FAP together with
the Movie Workers Welfare Fund (MOWELFUND) and the Motion Pictures Anti- Film Piracy Council (MPAFPC) negotiated to become beneficiaries of the Metro Manila Film Festival. The MMFF fund forged in 1986 among Metro Manila mayors was an agreement to donate yearly to the three beneficiaries a share of the local government’s income from the festival to enable their operations. As counterpart, the beneficiaries work as part of the MMFF committee.

From 1986 to 2002, under the terms of Presidents Aquino, Ramos and Estrada, the three beneficiaries remained constant even if the sharing percentages were revised now and then depending on the current President’s directives. In 2002 under President Arroyo, Malacañang shaved the shares to provide 10% for a new and fourth recipient – the President’s Social Fund. In 2006, the President based on the recommendation of the Consultant on Entertainment further increased the share of the President’s Social Fund to 35%, put in new additional beneficiaries, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to get 10% and the Optical Media Board (OMB) 5%, government agencies which already have GAA budget allocations. FAP’s share of 30% became10% which resulted in FAP getting only P1.3M for a one-year operation. This further resulted in the retrenchment of FAP personnel and the downsizing of its operation.

Government intervention should be initiated to recover the funds for FAP without which it would be impossible to run an effective organization much less implement a proper and continuous education program.

[] The industry (FAP) to run the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) with the MMDA

Year after year, the MMFF has been under scrutiny by film industry members at large for its questionable selection of competing films, its criteria for the awards which openly disregard the quality of the film and puts more weight on how much it earns in the tills, and most importantly for the manner by which the MMDA disburses the MMFF money which is at best free-wheeling and is not subject to accounting. Obviously, the MMFF is not covered by the Commission on Audit. And obviously, judging by the credentials of those who run it, its bias is not unqualified support to the film industry. Only a pittance of its earnings goes to FAP which takes care of the film workers. For the MMFF to be beneficial to the film industry, it must be run by the industry, in this case by FAP, together with the MMDA. With the FAP actively involved, the festival’s operation will be transparent, and the necessary funds for the development of the industry will be protected.

(Continued next week)