The government will create a streaming platform, one similar to Netflix, to help Filipino filmmakers showcase their works to the public, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairwoman Liza Diño announced today.
Speaking to reporters in the Laging Handa (“Always Ready”) virtual presser, Diño, whose office is in charge of promoting local films to overseas markets, said this was necessary to help film creators earn money from their content.
“We also plan to shift to digital platforms. It’s for those who create movies, [those] who do not have a platform [to show them] so they could screen their content and monetize it. We will shift to streaming platforms. It’s like Netflix but the government will set it up. It’s called Cine Lokal Online,” she said in English and Filipino.
Founded in 2017, the original Cine Lokal was a film fest where independent local and foreign films were screened. FDCP organized the event in collaboration with SM Cinemas, a chain of movie theaters.
The film and event industries have been severely battered by the pandemic because mass gatherings such as concerts and movie screenings have been prohibited to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The FDCP had to give unemployed workers cash dole-outs worth PHP8,000 (US$158) to help them survive, but the disbursement of the aid is scheduled to end today.
Diño said she wants to continue to help these workers, and appealed to the national government to provide the FDCP with more funding.
“If we are given extra funds, we want to continue this. We helped just a small percentage of workers when there have been so many affected. And not just in the film industry. Even in the television [industry], those who created audio-visual content, those who create content for streaming platforms. All of them are affected [by the pandemic],” she said.
“Those live events, theater productions, all of them had to be stopped [because of the quarantine]. These sectors are now being helped by different cultural agencies,” she added.
She said that the FDCP was just able to help 5,000 people when as many as 150,000 in the film business have lost their jobs. In the events industry, as many as 200,000 people have been displaced.
“These are cultural workers. Culture is so intangible; you cannot just tell them to look for a different job. I believe that the government will prioritize our culture and cultural workers,” she said.
More than 2 million Filipino workers have lost their jobs due to the lockdowns imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the government has given cash aid to some low-income families, many have complained that they were disqualified from receiving any form of benefits.