IN preservation of the Philippine national culture, a lawmaker is pushing for a measure that provides various incentives and benefits to Filipino artists.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, has filed House Bill 5924 or “Artists Welfare Protection and Information Act”.
Vargas, being an actor-turned-politician underscored the need to improve the social security, labor, medical, and legal conditions of Filipino artists- whether employed, self-employed or freelance.
“Our nation’s artists are the best in the world. Throughout history, the Filipino artists have showcased impressive talent and limitless creativity. Let us not waste this but instead nurture it further by supporting and taking good care of our artists. They define and strengthen our culture and national identity,” the solon said.
The bill stated that artists should also be allowed to have rights and privileges to be members of either Social Security System (SSS) or Government Service Insurance System (GSIS); PhilHealth; PAG-IBIG and other government financial institutions that provide benefits.
The measure described artists as those persons who provide creative expression or recreate works of art and anyone who contributes to the development of art and culture.
According to Vargas, some Filipino artists struggle with the financial limitations of their career.
“For one, artists are not entitled to the standardized benefits as those enjoyed by regular workers; they are yet to be provided with medical, stability, retirement, death insurance and housing benefits,” Vargas said.
Once enacted, the bill will uplift the morale of Filipino artists, including those who are members of the indigenous cultural communities for them to continue to contribute to the artistic and cultural development of the country.
The bill likewise is proposing health and hospitalization benefits to ease the plight of artists who have been stricken with illnesses.
Also, it will provide housing benefits, free legal assistance and other benefits given to Filipino employees.
Meanwhile, Vargas is urging the government to also provide the Filipino artists different educational programs for other job opportunities and careers.
“Government must provide second or alternative opportunities to artists who wish to retire from their respective art,” he stressed.
The bill also included the Indigenous Artists to be given the said privileges and benefits.
In order to avail the benefits, Vargas proposed to have a list of accredited artists.
The bill mandates the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in coordination with the Literacy Arts, Theatre, Film, Production Design and other groups, to create an Artist’s Welfare Office.
The Artists Welfare Office will serve as oversight body to look after the welfare and protection of the Filipino artists.
-April 23, 2018