To support artists who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic, Senator Sonny Angara called on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and other agencies of government to find ways to tap their talents and give them jobs during this very challenging time. During the hearing on the proposed 2021 budgets of the cultural agencies, including the NCCA, Angara, who chairs the Committee on Finance, cited the ongoing program of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority along the Pasig River as one way to help Filipino artists.
Angara said the MMDA, as part of its efforts to rehabilitate the Pasig River, has tapped artists to paint murals on its walls and banks.
“Maybe the NCCA could recommend some of the artists who need some commissions to the MMDA so there’s a source of income for them because I’m sure kahit papaano yung market for their services have been affected somewhat,” Angara said.
The MMDA also operates the Pasig River ferry system, which Angara has supported as a viable alternative mode of transport for residents of Metro Manila.
Under the 2020 national budget, the MMDA was provided with P176 million for the purchase of four 50-seater air-conditioned ferry boats to supplement the current fleet.
The NCCA has been providing assistance to thousands of artists who have been displaced due to the pandemic.
As of August this year, the NCCA has already provided a one-time cash assistance of P5,000 to around 10,000 artists who as freelance workers, do not receive regular compensation.
“Our freelancers like artists are having difficulty because of the “no work, no pay.” Policy, They have no projects in this time of pandemic so they are among the most affected sectors. We need to find a way to help them,” he said.
Apart from the banks of the Pasig River, Angara said the MMDA could also consider tapping the artists to paint over the walls of major thoroughfares such as EDSA.
“We have many artists whose talents are wasted due to this pandemic. Let us tap those willing to help. While we are helping the needy, we still make the environment beautiful, he added.