President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a message during the 70th birthday celebration of former President and incumbent Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Arroyo at La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City on April 5, 2017, where the celebrant Arroyo presents a post-birthday cake to President Duterte who celebrated his birthday on March 28, 2017. PPD/Albert Alcain, file

Artists hope Duterte will stress importance of art in second SONA
Edu Punay (philstar.com) - July 23, 2017 - 6:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Artists are urging the government to acknowledge the importance of art and hope President Rodrigo Duterte will address their concerns in the upcoming State of the Nation Address. 
 
For visual artist and Red Bull National doodle art champion Elmo Barcelon, the government lacks programs for young artists to develop their skills and to help them enter the art scene.
 
"Sana mapagtuunan ng pansin ni Duterte ang mga batang artist na nasa lower class ng ating lipunan dahil marami sa kanila ang mahuhusay talaga ngunit kapos naman sa pera, kagamitan at mga art school na may dekalidad na pasilidad," he said. 
 
"Nais kong magkaroon ng programa ang gobyerno na tutulong di lamang sa karapadapat na mga batang artist, kundi para sa lahat ng may pagnanais matuto, sa paraang suportang pinansyal," he added. 
 
Barcelon, a student at the University of the Philippines, also said that there are many budding artists in the country who cannot go into art school due to financial constraints.
 
"Siguro kailangang bigyan ng financial support 'tong mga young artist. Sana magkaroon ng mga scouts na maghahanap talaga ng mga deserve na bata para i-pursue yung mga art career nila," he said.
 
"Nais ko ring mai-improve ang mga art school sa mga state university dahil pansin kong marami rito ang kulang-kulang at hindi dekalidad ang mga kagamitan," he added. 

Tax issues

But for Crispin Villanueva Jr, a visual artist known for his bubble wrap art, issues that are focused on the art scene should not be addressed in the upcoming SONA.
 
"In general, dapat siguro improve ang BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) at ang pag-alaga ng mga artists," the triple winner at the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards said. 
 
"Yung sa tax ng artists ay dapat ayusin kasi hindi na-classify ng mabuti at nalilito ang BIR sa kita ng mga artist. Kaya nahihirapan magbayad ng tax dahil maraming hindi tugma at di maintindihan ng BIR sa uri ng income natin," Villanueva explained. 
 
Joriel Bataan, a contributing photographer to PULP Magazine, said that photographers in the Philippines are seen on the "lower level of art" compared to other artists.
 
"Parang nagkakaron ng notion na kaya mas less yung budget na binibigay samin. Walang standard na payment para sa mga artist dito sa Pilipinas at saka wala masyadong mga grants para tulungan yung mga may vision para gumawa ng art," he said.
 
Bataan, just like the other artists, emphasized that the importance of art should be acknowledged in society.
 
"Kulang ang support sa mga bagong artists. Sana magkaroon ng awareness ang public sa iba't-ibang klaseng artform at bakit importante iyon," he said.
 
"May mga naniniwala pa rin kasi na pag artist ka, patapon buhay mo," Bataan said in jest.
 
Bataan wishes there were more art festivals and workshops in the Philippines that are supported by the government to showcase local talents.
 
"Sana sa mga artist na nagta-trabaho for the industry, mabigyan sila ng tamang bayad sa narerender nila na service," he said. 
 
"I wish the president would learn to appreciate art as a significant factor in our economy," Bataan reiterated. 

Philippine Development Plan

According to Chapter 7, Promoting Philippine Culture and Values, of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2022, the Philippines' goal is to become a high-trust society.
 
The priority areas for the development are "safeguarding and enshrining fundamental cultural rights, achieving equity and inclusion to empower communities and strengthen identity as a nation with diverse culture and austaining and enhancing cultural assets to foster creativity and innovation for national development."
 
The strengthening of the arts and culture of the Philippines is also addressed by the PDP through its legislative agenda, which pushes for the enactment and implementation of new laws for the art sector, and amending existing laws to update them to the current situation.
 
To strengthen culture-sensitive public governance and development, the PDP also proposes the establishment of a department that would be called Department of Culture. 
 
Its role would be to reorganize the National Commission on Culture and the Arts into the Department of Culture and the Arts, define its power and functions, and strengthen the National Endowment for Culture and Arts.

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