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Is a Philippine creative industry the next big thing?

By The Philippine STAR Published Jul 26, 2021 6:00 am Updated Nov 02, 2021 12:34 pm

It’s 2021, 30 years since Lea Salonga won Broadway’s Tony Award for her iconic portrayal of the central role in Miss Saigon.  

Throughout those 30 years, Filipinos have breached many previously impenetrable global art milieus, from breaking price ceilings at prestigious auction houses to awards for film, advertising, and digital at Cannes; from well-received fashion statements on Hollywood’s red carpet to designer furniture in celebrity homes. 

Filipino artists and creative industry talents are by now veterans on the global stage. Walk into Pixar Studio and you’ll find several Filipino illustrators and animators sharing a showcase of Oscars. Board a cruise ship in Romania or Honolulu, or check out a nightspot in Seoul or Singapore, chances are you’ll be entertained through the night by Filipino singers and musicians.  

And for how many years have Pinoy performers been stunning judges and audiences on America’s Got Talent?

 Lea Salonga

The Philippines’ wealth of creative talent is almost a definition of nation. This wealth is also literal. Through job and intellectual property creation, exportable talent and revenue generation, and content creation for traditional and now social media, the creative sector is among the liveliest in the Philippines, despite the pandemic’s considerable impact on their work and wellbeing.

Now the artists are asking: Why has their important sector remained unrecognized, its compensation structures and benefits uneven, its role in nation-building untapped?

Through job and intellectual property creation, exportable talent and revenue generation, and content creation for media, the creative sector is among the liveliest in the Philippines despite the pandemic’s impact on work and well-being.

As a growing alliance of industries in diverse creative endeavors, Creative Industries Philippines (CIP) is banking on legislators’ support in turning the creative sector into the next major economic force for the country, in much the same way the Business Process Outsourcing industry took off in the 1990s and is now one of our most profitable sectors.  

In particular, CIP has asked that the Philippine Creative Industries Development Bills be prioritized and made part of the legislative agenda for the third (and final) regular session of the 18th Congress.

Ryan Cayabyab, Amina Aranaz Alunan, Tweetie de Leon Gonzalez, Kenneth Cobonpue, Lav Diaz, Carissa Cruz Evangelista and Audie Gemora

And perhaps there is no better time than now for the nation to look to the Filipino creative community for the turnkey ideas to jumpstart our COVID-weary economy.

The now-quickly organizing creative sector, which includes the film, built environment, live entertainment, music, design, and fashion industries, joined by academia, individuals and groups of visual and performing artists, food culture avatars, and many more — is poised to work with legislation to enable them to step into their historical moment as the new economic engine.

CIP’s battle cry expresses this resolve best: “Create the future, now.” And with proven creative prowess from all corners of this alliance, the possibilities arising from this bold new initiative are boundless.