Press Release
May 20, 2015


Good afternoon, everybody.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, this joint public hearing with the Committees on Ways and Means, Finance and Trade Commerce and Enterprises is called to order.

There are nine legislation in the Agenda today:

  • Senate Bills 1177, 1242, 1961, 2313 and 2325 which were filed by Senators Trillanes, Defensor-Santiago, Estrada and this representation. All of these bills seek to spur the growth of our film industry, albeit through various means.

  • Senate Bill 2306, by Senator Jinggoy Estrada. This bill seeks to establish the National Film Archive as a special office of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

  • Senate Bills 1745 and 2307, which were filed by Senators Defensor-Santiago and Estrada. These legislation delve into the legal side of the film industry, defining "film napping" or "flicker piracy" and requiring the disclosure of "material alteration" to films.

  • Senate Bill 2153 seeks to strengthen the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

The Film Industry is a potent tool for information gathering, dissemination and communication and as a catalyst of public opinion. It is a medium that projects the citizens' love for art as well as a mirror of our rich culture and Filipino identity. Significantly, the film industry provides substantial contributions to the national economy, employment and revenues through taxes. Hindi po dapat maliitin ang industriya na ito. Sa pagbibigay ng oportunidad sa marami nating mga kababayan.

Films are part of our cultural heritage. They are an essential part of what our Constitution recognizes as "artistic and historic wealth" which "constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation."

Sa pagpupulong natin ngayon, titingnan natin ang mga problema at susubok tayo na magbigay tulong sa industriya ng pelikula. Malaki na ang ipinagbago ng sektor: mula sa isa sa mga unang sineng Pilipino na naitala, ang Panorama de Manila (1898), hanggang sa pelikulang unang pelikulang Pinoy na may tunog Punyal na Ginto (1933) ni Jose Nepumuceno at ang Zamboanga (nina Fernando Poe at Rosa del Rosario, 1937), unang pelikula naman na sumabak at binigyang parangal sa ibang bansa. Sa ngayon, kasama ng pag-unlad at pagbabago ay ang mga isyu na kinakaharap ng pelikulang Pilipino.

For example, despite our country's prolific film industry, we lack an official film archive. Only around 3,000 of the 8,000 Filipino films produced since 1919 have been saved. Although the National Film Archive of the Philippines (NFAP) was established in 2012, it is not officially a government office. In fact, the NFAP has been described as a "temporary facility" that is only a "national archive" by "sheer will". A Senate legislation in the Agenda is on this concern.

Our film industry also continues to face newer and more difficult challenges. Foremost among these is piracy, which has evolved to include flicker piracy and film napping. Flicker piracy refers to the illegal recording of films inside a movie houses. Film napping refers to the theft of legitimate film prints.

Filipino films likewise face fierce global competition and the burden of excessive taxation.

However, these challenges should not discourage Filipino filmmakers. In fact, our film industry experienced positive developments in recent years. For example, Filipino "indie" films made waves internationally in 2013 and 2014 - Erik Matti's On the Job, Lav Diaz's Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, Adolfo Alix Jr.'s Death March, Hannah Espia's Transit, Brillante Mendoza's Thy Womb, Jeffrey Jeturian's Ekstra, Jason Paul Laxamana's Magkakabaung and Lino Brocka's digitally restored Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag.

And just as we are discussing today, the Filipino film "Taklub" (Yolanda) by film maker Brillante Mendoza and producer Senator Loren Legarda is having its world premiere and competing in the most prestigious 2015 Cannes International Film Festival in France. Like every Filipino, I am hoping that by awards night, our entry will be awarded due recognition.

I also heard that somebody who is here today has missed the event in Cannes to be present with us. Ms. Aunor, thank you for being with us today.

These films once again showed the world what every Filipino knows- anumang larangan at kahit saan man, kayang tapatan ng husay ng Pilipino. Given the spectacular performance of Filipino films in the international scene, it goes without saying that we should encourage growth and creativity in our film industry.

Finally, we turn to the issue of strengthening the MTRCB, in ways not in censorship but in classification. Eventually the MTRCB, it is our hope, will be a non-government agency, but for now we have to strengthen the values system of the viewers and educate them so that by such time, it will much easier for them to impose film classification.

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