Bayanihan 2 Law to Provide Cash Aid to Film and AV Workers Displaced by COVID-19

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, SEPTEMBER __, 2020 — With the signing into law of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 by President Rodrigo Duterte, film and audiovisual workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic stand to receive financial assistance from the country's fiscal stimulus package.


The Bayanihan 2 Law, approved by President Duterte on September 11, provides for a fund worth PHP 165.5 billion for pandemic response and recovery. The regular appropriation is worth PHP 140 billion while standby funds are pegged at P25.5 billion.


An allotment of PHP 13 billion is for the government's support program for impacted sectors such as the creative industries, including but not limited to film and audiovisual workers


On top of the appropriations, the Bayanihan 2 Law authorizes President Duterte to exercise powers that are necessary in implementing COVID-19 interventions such as the Unemployment or Involuntary Separation Assistance worth PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000 for those in creative industries, including film, audiovisual, and broadcast workers.


“We thank the leaders of both Houses of Congress for their display of statesmanship by their swift passage of this important piece of legislation,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. “We consider the Bayanihan II crucial in our efforts to gradually re-open the economy, support businesses, and revitalize growth as we make our country resilient to COVID-19.”


The Congress’ bicameral conference committee approved the Bayanihan 2 as a follow-up to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. The Senate ratified it on August 20 and the House of Representatives did the same on August 24. 


FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra hailed the signing of the Bayanihan 2 into law and mentioned that it coincides with the official closing of the Philippine Cinema Centennial.


“We thank the President and our Congress for including our much affected sector as it recovers from the pandemic,” she said. According to a survey of the Department of Finance through the National Economic and Development Authority, arts, entertainment, and recreation comprise the hardest hit business sector by the pandemic. More than 760,000 workers in content and live audiovisual industries have been displaced and the projected loss of the film and audiovisual industry in 2020 is over PHP 100 billion.


“The FDCP has already reached out to the Department of Labor and Employment on the operationalization of this support and the national film agency has offered its assistance to help the sector,” added the FDCP Chairperson.


Diño-Seguerra, who served as a resource person in several House Committee and Senate Committee Hearings on the economic stimulus package, thanked her FDCP team, the sectors the Agency represents, and various groups for coming up with a position paper presented to the National Government that contained recommendations on the bill’s transitional, financial, and sectoral interventions. 


The groups involved are the Inter-Guild Alliance (a network of groups representing sectors of the film, television, and advertising industries in the Philippines), Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., Game Development Association of the Philippines, Creative Economy Council of the Philippines, and National Live Events Coalition PH (NLECPH). 


Diño-Seguerra also expressed her gratitude to the Congress led by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate President Vicento Sotto III. She thanked the lawmakers who supported the bill, especially the champions of the film and audiovisual industry such as Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher  “Toff” de Venecia, AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., Sen. Sonny Angara, and Sen. Ralph Recto. 


She also thanked the other lawmakers who worked on the Bayanihan 2 Bill such as Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, Jr., Batangas 2nd District Rep. Ranie Abu, Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Quirino Lone District Rep. Junie Cua, Aklan 2nd District Rep. Teodorico Haresco, Jr., Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Wilter Palma, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Franklin Drilon, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Imee Marcos, and Sen. Pia Cayetano.


Photo courtesy of the House of Representatives