Actor turned legislator and Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez on Friday thumbed down the idea to “totally ban” Korean dramas (K-dramas) or foreign-produced programs in the Philippines.
Instead, he said, “let’s just limit the showing of these foreign shows to give more time to local shows.”
“Banning the foreign shows is difficult since the people would lose their freedom of choice,” Gomez said, at the sidelines of Leyte City’s Diamond Jubilee or 75th-year celebration last Oct. 19.
The first-term legislator admitted however that controlling Filipinos’ craving for watch shows like K-dramas may be “impossible.” This is especially with the advent of streaming services like Netflix, which streams these foreign series on personal devices like mobile phones.
“It’s really hard to control. On the other hand, it is about time for the Filipino teledramas to step up the quality of their production so that they can compete internationally,” Gomez said. “The talent is there, I don’t think we lack talent, Filipino actors are very talented, some even become congressmen.”
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda on Friday 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,” Salceda, chair of the House committee on ways and means, said.
Instead of banning K-pop and K-drama, Salceda suggested “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 said became the impetus for creating the Special Committee on the Creative Economy, which enacted the Creative Industries Development Act or RA 11904.
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.”