Press Releases

Salceda on K-drama ban issue: Copy So. Korea’s post-crisis strategy, invest in “creative ecosystem,” protect local creators

October 21st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) called on the government to invest in what he calls “the creatives ecosystem” as the proper response to the wave of foreign-produced cultural products, and amid remarks from some senators considering a ban on K-drama.

“It’s not just that K-drama and K-pop in general is good. It’s that investing in K-culture was one of the best economic recovery strategies ever devised by any in country in modern history. After the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, Korea decided that its cultural exports were a way to earn dollars and achieve economic success. They were exceptionally correct.”

“Instead of banning K-pop and K-drama, let’s copy the economic strategies that led to its rise.”

“Our content can and should be original. But our economic strategies don’t have to be. Let’s copy that strategy,” Salceda added.

Salceda cited that in March 2020, his proposed National Economic Recovery Strategy, under House Bill No. 6619 in the 18th Congress, included a proposal to invest in the creative industry, a point which Salceda says became the impetus for creating the Special Committee on the Creative Economy, which enacted the Creative Industries Development Act or RA 11904.

“In March 2020, I recommended to the House leadership that we take seriously the creatives sector as a source of economic growth and recovery. It already represents 3% of global GDP, and could represent as much as 10% within the decade. So, there’s plenty of potential here.”

Salceda outlined the following interventions to ensure the protection and promotion of local creatives.

“First, we need a strong intellectual property framework, especially for digital content. House Bill No. 799, or the Intellectual property Code of the Philippines, which I principally authored, provides that framework. We can block pirated content online faster and more effectively.”

“Second, we need fair taxation between local and imported creative content. Many digital creative companies don’t pay Value-Added Tax. Local streaming services and local creatives do. So, obviously, locals are at a significant disadvantage. So, the Non-Resident Digital Service Provider’s VAT Act is critical.”

“Third, we need to reinvest revenues from digital services VAT and other creatives-related content towards investments in local creatives. Korea invested heavily in a creative industry fund post-AFC. And they’re not resting on their laurels. This year, they announced a $3.7 billion fund for film, TV, art, and other cultural projects. That’s one of the largest creative investment programs anywhere in the world.”

“Fourth, creatives require creative freedom. Korea’s top grossing international film, Parasite, was a critique of Korean society. As a society, as a government, as a body-politic, we cannot be too onion-skinned. For a start, we may need to rethink our censorship laws and to broaden creative license.”

“Fifth, creatives require highly technical training. Institutions of learning such as the Philippine High School for the Arts, the Special Programs for the Arts of our various national high schools, and our college artistic programs need to expand to modern, digital creatives, such as animation and filmmaking.”

“And cultural exchange is important. K-pop borrows heavily from American and Swedish production companies. We should encourage our local creatives companies to work with international companies, to get a better sense of what the world demands and to upgrade our own capacities.”

“In almost all things, import bans don’t work. The world is willing to pay big money for good content. Let’s do better.”

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