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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

House pushes to grant films appropriate tax incentives
25 September 2018 09:49:47 PM

House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Jose Atienza Jr. (Party-list, Buhay) today called on the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to properly evaluate local films and give appropriate tax incentives to ensure their quality.

Atienza issued the call during the plenary deliberation of the House of Representatives on the P120.5 million proposed budget of the FDCP for next year.

Committee on Appropriations Vice Chairman Rep. Eric Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City), who sponsored the FDCP proposed budget, cited that the country has produced a total of 120 films in 2017. Presently, numerous local films are being shown abroad and awarded with different awards, he said.

The FDCP is the government agency responsible for the cinema evaluation system, which rates local films to determine their eligibility for tax incentives.

According to Olivarez, these incentives significantly aid in ensuring the increased production of quality local films.

Atienza mentioned that the efforts of giving the audiences, especially the young, quality films could promote patriotism, cultural orientation, appreciation for Philippine character, culture and the arts, as well as exemplify the positive qualities of Filipinos.

“Film is one of the most powerful media that we can think of. Pag maganda ang sine, maaaring ito ay makapagbigay ng inspirasyon. Kaya tayo mayroong tax incentive. Kapag ang sine ay hindi po maganda ang script at hindi maganda ang production, nagsisilbi lamang na mali sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa,” said Atienza.

He then cited the recently released film, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, which, according to Atienza, portrayed the Filipino patriots, who volunteered to defend Tirad Pass, as cowards.

He even recounted that there are young individuals, who detested the featured national hero, General Gregorio del Pilar, after watching the film.

When asked if the movie’s script was assessed by FDCP prior to its production and release, Olivarez clarified that the council shall only review and rate the films after they are completed and after the producers apply for cinema classification under the Cinema Evaluation Board.

“Hindi po ba mas maayos kung sa script palang ay kanilang pinag-aaralan na kung ang pelikulang ito ay mayroong mga katangian na maaaring bigyan ng suporta by way of tax exemption?” said Atienza.

“We are asking this question so that we may come up with a more accurate control of the film industry’s quality of production before they get produced and before they are exhibited,” he added.

Atienza told FDCP to use their authority to grant tax exemptions carefully and be cautious on determining which films shall receive these privileges.

“If they use that power and authority with diligence and thoroughness, considering national interest and the development of our youth, we could very well take advantage and be benefited by the effectivity of the cinema as a medium of communications, information, and education,” he said.

After conferring with FDCP Chairperson Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra, Olivarez stated that the council shall ensure that the films receiving tax incentives, especially historical films, have accurate details and storylines.

Diño-Seguerra also vowed to convene with FDCP’s Cinema Evaluation Board to discuss the concerns raised during the plenary deliberations.

Atienza was satisfied with the assurance pronounced by the FDCP Chair and said, “I know that they have a small budget. In fact, they should be given a bigger budget. And if I can help, in any way, I will vote for the increase of the budget of this agency, knowing very well the critical role that they are playing in molding the future of young Filipinos.” | Monel Gonzales