IN the view of many, Filipino artists -- whether employed, self-employed or freelance -- are among the country’s treasures because they ennoble our lives and enrich our experience.
We, like other well-meaning people, cannot overemphasize the importance of caring for our artists by giving them incentives and benefits as those enjoyed by regular employees.
Thus, various quarters welcomed news that Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas is spearheading a move in the House of Representatives to preserve Philippine national culture.
In fact, Vargas, vice chairman of the powerful House committee on appropriations, has filed House Bill (HB) 5924 which seeks to provide incentives to Filipino artists.
Otherwise known as the “Artists Welfare Protection and Information Act,” the bill aims to improve the social security, labor, medical and legal conditions of the country’s artists.
Vargas, an actor-turned-politician, noted that some Filipino artists struggle with the financial limitations of their career.
“For one, artists are not entitled to the standardized benefits as those enjoyed by regular workers; they are yet to be provided with medical, stability, retirement, death insurance and housing benefits,” he added.
According to the proposed legislation, artists are persons who provide creative expression or recreate works of art and anyone who contributes to the development of art and culture.
HB No. 5924 also mandates the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in coordination with the Literacy Arts, Theatre, Film, Production Design, to set up an Artist’s Welfare Office.
The office will serve as an oversight body to look after the welfare and protection of Filipino artists.
Indeed, our artists deserve to be supported by the government and the Filipino people.