Baguio Artists Laud Bill to Provide Tax Exemptions, Subsidies for Local Music Industry

By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY – Local artists here welcome Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño’s bill aiming to provide tax exemptions and subsidies for the local music industry.

The House Bill 3787 states that all operas, concerts, dramas, recitals, painting and art exhibitions, flower shows, musical programs, literary and oratorical presentations, including pop, rock or similar concerts featuring Filipino artists will be exempted from paying the 10% amusement tax. Casiño filed the bill on the third week of February.

The bill also states that the percentage collected from foreign acts will be used for workshops and trainings for local theater musicals, artists and composers.

Jun Utleg, city’s folk singer since 1982 said it is only right that local artists be exempted from the amusement tax because foreign acts in the country have greater fund compared to concerts held by Filipino artists. He added that foreign artists’ concerts should be monitored closely to ensure that they pay the proper taxes. He cited a situation in the city where foreign organized concerts used Baguio singers as their front acts and pay them P500 each. “It’s not fair,” he added.

The proposal to allocate the collected tax to workshops and trainings for local artists is commendable, Utleg said, adding that this would help the promising singers to enhance and pursue their talents. “There are a lot of promising young singers here that are not discovered because of the scarcity of resources and support from the government,” Utleg lamented.

Ultleg added that compositions of Baguio artists have difficulty entering the mainstream because they have less or no advertising support.

“I think this is a very welcome development,” Ferdinand John Balanag, film and theater director and actor, said . He added that it will help artists based outside Manila where opportunities for earning a living from their art is very low.

Balanag also added that the bill encourages appreciation and practice of original Filipino art. “It will surely help revitalize the state of local Filipino art,” Balanag said.

Kidlat Tahimik, internationally known film maker and owner of the Victor Oteyza Community Art Space (Vocas) said “any relief that recognizes the need to support local artists who have difficulty at earning a living is welcome”.

He added that having a specific provision that will subsidize the development of local artists with the tax being collected from foreign artists’ activities makes a lot of sense.

“Instead of remitting the tax to the general fund and allocating portions to artists which is very difficult, it will now go directly to them,” he said, adding it is about time to legislate a law that supports hand-to-mouth artists. Reposted by: ()

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