The approved House Bill 7785, principally authored by Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st District, Samar), aims to recognize a specific performing arts group for each of the identified art genres and honor their respective roles in social development and achievements with a grant of appropriate benefits and privileges.
Pursuant to Article II, Sections 17 and 23, and Article 14, Sections 15, 15 and 18 (2) of the Constitution, the bill declares the State policy to appropriately recognize, designate, and support non-governmental organizations that have demonstrated pioneering, consistent, and unassailable competence, effectiveness and success in the development, training, documentation and performance of ballet and contemporary dance, orchestral music, chorale music and theater.
The bill mandates the designation of a National Performing Arts Company for five years from each of the following genres: 1) National Ballet/ Contemporary Dance Company; 2) National Theater Company; 3) National Orchestra; 4) National Choral Company; and 5) National String Ensemble.
A National Performing Arts Company shall have the following roles and functions: 1) undertake a continuing program of training and education for the professional development of performing artists, teachers, directors, designers, performing arts managers, and other artists particular to the company’s arts field; 2) maintain and promote a standard of artistic excellence in the company’s field that will help elevate the performing arts in the country; 3) conduct research relative to particular performing arts and document its activities and programs for the preservation and dissemination of Filipino masterpieces in the performing arts; 4) organize and present an annual season of performances at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other venues in the country; 5) develop and build a repertoire of original Filipino works that will help define our national cultural identity; and 6) maintain a viable and sustainable performing arts organization and help set a standard of effective and efficient performing arts management.
A Selection Committee composed of 15 members shall be created to choose the National Performing Arts Companies. The committee members shall be chosen from a panel of experts knowledgeable in the artistic and technical aspects of the performing arts.
The Selection Committee Members shall be designated by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the CCP. They shall elect a Chairperson from among themselves.
The Selection Committee shall choose the National Performing Arts Companies based on the following criteria: 1) they are national in scope, and tackle and present the arts, culture, issues, traditions, and concerns of the nation; 2) maintain the highest standards of artistic excellence as manifested in the quality of their performances, artists, training programs and other activities; 3) world-class, and have represented the country in numerous touring engagements, festivals, competitions and international events. They have been acclaimed by foreign organizations, audiences and critics alike; 4) have maintained a professional track record of regular and continuing set of activities in pursuit of their mission; and 5) are able to maintain viable and sustainable organizations to support their programs and shall thus have the capability to match the allocated annual subsidy from the government.
National Performing Arts Companies shall be entitled to 1) free and equitable use of government facilities and cultural venues devoted to cultural and artistic performances; 2) access to grants for research documentations, productions, workshops, training and audience development programs from the NCCA, subject to proper evaluation; and 3) Intellectual Property rights to their work, including music, choreographs, and other artistic creations.
Each National Performing Arts Company shall be appropriated the following: 1) P10 million a year each for the National Ballet/ Contemporary Dance Company, the National Theater Company, and the National Orchestra for a period of five years; and 2) P5 million a year each for the National Choral Company and the National String Ensemble for a period of five years.
Such amounts may be adjusted once every five years after the effectivity of the Act. The amounts necessary to implement the provisions of the Act shall be included in the CCP budget in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Any donation, contribution, bequest and grant to the National Performing Arts Companies shall be exempt from donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction from the gross income of the donor, in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, provided that such National Performing Arts Companies are accredited nongovernment organization pursuant to Executive Order No. 720 issued on April 11, 2008.
Within 90 days from the approval of the Act, the CCP President, in consultation with the NCCA Chairperson, shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations for the Act.
According to Sarmiento, while laws were passed recognizing certain performing arts groups as the country’s officials performers, these measures virtually excluded other groups who have shown effort and also brought pride to the country.
Other authors of the bill are Reps. Joey Sarte Salceda, Ramon Durano VI, former Davao City Representative and now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, Reps. Dakila Carlo Cua, Deputy Speaker Evelina Escudero, Reps. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, Cecilia Leonila Chavez, and Juliet Marie Ferrer, among others.