Rep. Christopher de Venecia

A group of lawmakers at the House of Representatives is set to file on Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Music Industry Act of 2020 to help pump-prime the Philippine music industry.

The group, called the Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc (ACCIB), is composed of 22 lawmakers, whose objective is to introduce and support legislations that protect and promote culture, the arts, and the creative industries. 

Some of its members are: Reps. Vilma Santos-Recto (6th Dist, Batangas), Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th Dist, Leyte), Edward Maceda (4th Dist, Manila), Jose Atienza (BUHAY partylist), Juan Miguel Arroyo (2nd Dist, Pampanga), Baby Arenas (3rd Dist, Pangasinan), Camille Villar (Lone Dist. of Las PiƱas City), Lianda Bolilia (4th Dist, Batangas), and Loren Legarda (Lone Dist. of Antique).  

Rep. Christopher De Venecia (4th Dist, Pangasinan) is the group’s convenor.

In a privilege speech, De Venecia said that “despite having a very talented pool of musicians and having a relatively young population who have agency, currency, and propensity for creativity and innovation, we are still not maximizing the potential of our music industry the way South Korea for example has ignited the global dominance of K-Pop.”

He pointed out that the Korean craze, called the Hallyu Wave, has been estimated to contribute US$11.6 billion to the South Korean economy.

“But what we have to learn from the experience of South Korea is that they did not become the global influence they are overnight.”  He said, “their country’s leadership decided to invest significant funding, infrastructure, human resource development, marketing and incubation, in partnership with the private sector, for the development of their music industry and ensured that there would be governance structures and sound policies in place to ensure its sustainability.

“This is precisely what we hope to do with this measure,” he stressed.

De Venecia said that while the business aspect of music-making is definitely highlighted in this bill, “it does not neglect our duty to ensure the preservation of our musical heritage.”

Thus, under this bill, he said the Music Development Council shall be created and shall endeavor to work with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to preserve musical traditions in the Philippines.

“This Music Industry Development Bill is not a silver bullet but a measure that should work in consonance with other congressional initiatives that can pump-prime this sector of the creative economy.”

On a separate measure, de Venecia said they will need to revisit the Intellectual Property Code and ascertain whether or not it needs updating as it affects almost all sectors of the creative economy.

Also, he said the amusement and entertainment tax as enshrined under the Local Government Code might have to be revisited as these have proven to be very much restrictive to the growth of the creative industries, not only to live events, but also to film.

“Which is why we are equally grateful to the House Leadership in including the relaxation of amusement tax in the Bayanihan 2 as a form of regulatory relief to first movers in both film and live events,” he said.

He is also pushing for the need to explore how Original Pilipino Music (OPM) might be mainstreamed in broadcast media to instil greater appreciation of the local music among the people, either through incentives, regulatory measures, or a combination of both.

The government, through the Optical Media Board, must continue to clamp down on music piracy, even if the modalities by which this is done is likewise transforming alongside evolving technologies, he said.

De Venecia said that while many creative industries like music pivot towards the digital space, it is equally important to have sound ICT infrastructure in the country “so we welcome any efforts by the DICT and other agencies that will endeavor do so.”

He added that if most concerts in the interim or even as the country heads towards the new normal will involve live streaming for amplified reach and sustainability of the creative industries, “then let’s strive to ensure that patrons wouldn’t be bothered by buffering, low-resolution, and intermittent internet connections.”

De Venecia said that amidst the grim public health crisis Filipinos are currently facing, “we heed the plight of artists whose livelihoods are in peril, having been deprived of their bread and butter, and yet continue to share their talent and artistry to the world.”

“We want them to know that Congress, through the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, is determined to help them as best we can, just as they have helped millions of Filipinos during this pandemic,” he said.

“In our book, the creative class of the Philippines is just as much front-liners because they cater to our mental health. Without music to keep us company during these past months, it’s unlikely that we might have survived,” De Venecia said.

He added, “It is high time for us to finally give the music industry, among many other sectors of our creative economy, the support and attention it deserves.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (