Lawmaker urges Congress passage of bill supporting local artists

A MILITANT lawmaker  is pushing for the passage of a bill exempting concerts by local artists from amusement taxes “in order to give Filipino music artists substantial support in the face of the influx of foreign acts that are at times even favored by local governments with discounts over Filipino concert producers who can hardly avail of the same.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño sponsored House Bill 3787 titled An Act Providing for Tax Exemptions and Subsidies for the Local Music Industry by amending certain sections of the Local Government Code of 1991 in yesterday’s Committee on Ways and Means meeting.

HB 3787 will mandate that the holding of operas, concerts, dramas, recitals, painting and art exhibitions, flower shows, musical programs, literary and oratorical presentations, including pop, rock, or similar concerts as long as they feature mainly Filipino artists and Filipino compositions shall be exempt from the payment of the 10 percent amusement tax imposed on them.

The bill also directs that proceeds from amusement taxes on foreign acts shall be earmarked for subsidizing workshops of local theater musicals and/or training and workshops for local artists and composers. The remaining proceeds from the amusement tax shall then be shared equally by the province and the municipality where such amusement places are located.

Present at today’s hearing were Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) President Ogie Alcasid, OPM Chairperson Mitch Valdez, musician Jim Paredes, and independent concert producers Pelita Peralta-Uy and Carmela Honrado, who all appealed for the approval of the bill to remove a tax that she said was killing the local music industry.

Under Local Government Code, the holding of pop, rock, or similar concerts are subject to a maximum amusement tax of 10 percent of gross receipts from admission fees.

“The music industry has been dying since the 1980s. This is evident with the greater number of foreign artists’ concerts that do not pay regular income taxes that Filipino artists do. Thus our own musical artists’ growth is stunted and have the least access to advertising support, marketing and promotions since these have been eaten up by foreign gigs,” Casiño said.

Valdez told the Committee that they opposed the lumping together of musical concerts with movies in the determination of amusement taxes. She said that unlike movies, which are shown 5-6 times a day in thousands of theaters and whose taxes are deducted from ticket sales, concerts are held in one venue and for a very limited time but whose taxes are computed based on printed tickets regardless of whether these were sold or not.

“Some kind LGUs waive the tax but they ask us to gives donations to the city’s favorite charitable foundation but that is on a case-to-case basis and depends on whom you know in the LGU. In other words, it is being dictated where we are going to donate,” Ms. Valdez said.

“What we want is a level playing field. This is why we fully support the bill of Cong. Casiño,” she added.-D’Jay Lazaro

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