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Salceda files Build, Build, Build for Creative Industries; House tax chair wants long-term investments in PH culture as ‘future of Philippine exports’

December 18th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has filed House Bill No. 10613 or the Build, Build, Build for the Creative Industries Act, saying that the ‘future of Philippine exports is service-based industries, including culture.’

Salceda, who proposed the creation of the House panel on Creative Industries as early as February 2020 in an aide memoire to the House leadership, said that the Philippines must make investments in its cultural industries ‘similar to what Korea did in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, as a way to diversify their then-manufacturing dependent economy.’

“Culture is resilient. It’s crisis-proof. When one aspect of it, such as tourism, suffers, other alternatives such as art and digital content can emerge. That’s why the creative industries are an excellent hedge against economic crises.,” Salceda said.

Salceda cited success stories in Europe and South Korea in promoting the creatives sector.

“In the European Union, the creatives sector account for 4.4% of GDP. In South Korea, the creatives sector contributes around 2% of the economy, and also boosts Korean tourism, with around 55.3% of all inbound tourism being related to its creative sector – best exemplified by the Hallyu wave or K-culture. It is useful to note that these countries are also highly-industrialized, where manufacturing and high-value services are dominant,” Salceda said.

“In fact, K-Pop was one of the most resilient sectors of the Korean economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. One group alone, BTS, contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Korean economy during the pandemic. For perspective, this is half the entire pre-pandemic tourist economy of the Philippines,” Salceda added.

Ph creative sector needs crisis-proofing

Salceda however noted that “In the Philippines, the lack of a framework for supporting creatives has resulted in a sector that can sometimes be a large contributor to the economy, but whose revenues can suddenly collapse during a crisis.”

“Although it is estimated that the creatives contribute, directly or indirectly, anywhere between 4 and 7 percent of GDP, the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines estimates that the sector lost 90% of its revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, if ever, would make the sector among the hardest-hit sectors of the economy.”

“In the Korean model, resilience appears to be due to strong public investment. During the Asian Financial Crisis, the South Korean government sought to diversify the then-manufacturing-driven South Korean economy. Entertainment and culture became one of the leading prospects for that country,” Salceda said.

According to Salceda, an entire ecosystem of public support has been built to bolster K-culture. A division of the Korean Ministry of Culture, the Popular Culture Industry Division, focuses on Korean pop music, fashion, mass entertainment, comic books, cartoons, and other key products.

“Its budget is a colossal USD 5.5 billion, with the aim to boost economic growth particularly through growing the country’s cultural industry export industry,” Salceda said. Salceda is also an adviser to the Incheon Metropolitan City, which is South Korea’s equivalent of Bonifacio Global City, and is the country’s third largest city.

“The Korean government also directly invests in cultural exports. The Korean government sponsors 20-30% of a USD 1 billion investment fund earmarked to nurture and export popular culture. The remaining funds comes from investment banks and private companies and are managed by the Korean Venture Investment Corporation,” Salceda cited.

Build, Build, Build for creatives sector

Under Salceda’s proposal, a National Creative Industries Investment Program, or the Build, Build, Build for the Creative Industries, will be created as the roadmap for public support in the sector.

Planning towards infrastructure programs for the creatives sector will also be undertaken both at the national and local levels.

Salceda’s proposal also creates a National Creative Industries Infrastructure Audit to “identify existing government facilities and infrastructure that are essential or highly significant to the creative industries,” and to determine whether to repair or replace these structures.

“One model for excellent cultural infrastructure restoration is the Metropolitan Theater or the MET which is now back to its old glory. Once people are more comfortable with crowds, I expect that to be the country’s leading venue for avant-garde art and culture. It will be a success story.”

“If we want to create a truly prosperous creatives sector, we need to invest in the sector. Korea did, and they are fast becoming the world’s leader in that area. It’s a goal worth pursuing.” (end)

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