AS the future of Philippine exports rests a lot on service-based industries, including culture, an economist-lawmaker is pushing for the passage of the proposed Build, Build, Build for the Creative Industries Act.
In House Bill 10613, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda said the Philippines must make investments in its cultural industries, similar to what Korea did in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, as a way to diversify their then-manufacturing dependent economy.
“Culture is resilient. It’s crisis-proof. When one aspect of it, such as tourism, suffers, other alternatives such as art and digital content can emerge. That’s why the creative industries are an excellent hedge against economic crises,” Salceda said.
Salceda also cited success stories in Europe and South Korea in promoting the creatives sector.
“In the European Union, the creatives sector accounts for 4.4 percent of GDP,” he said.
“In South Korea, the creatives sector contributes around 2 percent of the economy, and also boosts Korean tourism, with around 55.3 percent of all inbound tourism being related to its creative sector—best exemplified by the Hallyu wave or K-culture. It is useful to note that these countries are also highly-industrialized, where manufacturing and high-value services are dominant,” Salceda said.
In fact, the lawmaker said K-Pop was one of the most resilient sectors of the Korean economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the Korean model, resilience appears to be due to strong public investment. During the Asian Financial Crisis, the South Korean government sought to diversify the then-manufacturing-driven South Korean economy. Entertainment and culture became one of the leading prospects for that country,” Salceda said.
BTS gave $4.9B to economy
“One group alone, BTS, contributed $4.9 billion to the Korean economy during the pandemic. For perspective, this is half the entire prepandemic tourist economy of the Philippines,” Salceda added.
In the Philippines, Salceda, however, said the lack of a framework for supporting creatives has resulted in a sector “that can sometimes be a large contributor to the economy, but whose revenues can suddenly collapse during a crisis.”
“Although it is estimated that the creatives contribute, directly or indirectly, anywhere between 4 and 7 percent of GDP, the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines estimates that the sector lost 90 percent of its revenues during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This, if ever, would make the sector among the hardest-hit sectors of the economy,” he added.
According to Salceda, an entire ecosystem of public support has been built to bolster K-culture.
He said a division of the Korean Ministry of Culture, the Popular Culture Industry Division, focuses on Korean pop music, fashion, mass entertainment, comic books, cartoons, and other key products.
“Its budget is a colossal $5.5 billion, with the aim to boost economic growth particularly through growing the country’s cultural industry export industry,” Salceda said. Salceda is also an adviser to the Incheon Metropolitan City, which is South Korea’s equivalent of Bonifacio Global City, and is the country’s third largest city.
“The Korean government also directly invests in cultural exports. The Korean government sponsors 20 percent to 30 percent of a $1 billion investment fund earmarked to nurture and export popular culture. The remaining funds come from investment banks and private companies and are managed by the Korean Venture Investment Corporation,” Salceda said.
Build, Build, Build
Under House Bill 10613, a National Creative Industries Investment Program, or the Build, Build, Build for the Creative Industries, will be created as the roadmap for public support in the sector.
Planning towards infrastructure programs for the creatives sector will also be undertaken both at the national and local levels.
It also creates a National Creative Industries Infrastructure Audit to “identify existing government facilities and infrastructure that are essential or highly significant to the creative industries,” and to determine whether to repair or replace these structures.