Filipinos are increasingly enticed to pursue a career in the creative field because of its flexible work options. Only counting the copyright-based sector, creative industries already contribute to 6.5-7% of the country’s GDP, according to the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP). Laws that safeguard the rights of creatives are necessary for these industries to flourish more.
The pandemic has highlighted the lack of institutionalized protection in the art and entertainment sectors. Here are three bills that aim to address this:
Philippine Creative Industries Act (House Bill 10107 and Senate Bill 2455)
This landmark legislation aims to institutionalize creative industries and ensure a sustainable livelihood for creative workers. Under HB 10107, the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council will be created to develop local talents and provide more opportunities for the creative industry which include audiovisual media, digital interactive media, creative services, design, publishing and printed media, performing arts, visual arts, traditional cultural expressions, and cultural sites. One of its components is financial assistance for creatives.
The bill is now with the Senate for approval.
Eddie Garcia Act (House Bill 7762 and Senate Bill 294)
The death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia following an accident on set sparked a serious discussion on occupational safety. This gave way to HB 7762 or the Eddie Garcia Act, which seeks to protect all workers and independent contractors in the film, television, and radio entertainment industry. It addresses issues on safety with provisions on working hours, mandatory insurance coverage, emergency operational standards, risk assessment, and mental health.
The House of Representatives has approved the bill on final reading, while its Senate version is still pending approval.
Freelancers Protection Act or Freelance Workers Protection Act (Senate Bill 1810 and House Bill 8817)
While Senate Bill 1810 addresses registered freelancers in general, it will also benefit creative workers who have been long engaged in home-based and freelance work even before the pandemic. This bill seeks to uphold, among others, the rights of creative freelancers to just compensation, simplified tax registration and filing, and financial services.
Its counterpart in the House of Representatives, HB 8817 has been passed on third reading. One of its proponents, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V.P. De Venecia, said recently that he supports combining HB 8817 and SB 1810, but encourages that HB 8817 provisions be incorporated in the final version. These include provisions on night shift differential, hazard pay, and fines for violations against the freelancers.
Senate Bill 1810 is pending second reading.