MANILA, PHILIPPINES — At the heart of every nation are its creatives. It’s difficult to imagine a country flourishing — both in itself and as a significant part of the global landscape — without the art and craft that both shape it and is shaped by it. Throughout centuries, this has been indisputably true for the Philippines, so it is only fitting that creativity and the people who fuel and embody it should be celebrated, protected, and supported. That is exactly what the Philippine Creative Industries Month (PCIM) strives to do.
The PCIM launch was held last September 03 at The Metropolitan Theater Ballroom in Manila, hosted by Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2016 Nicole Cordoves. Not only was it a way to kick off the month-long celebration, but it was also a platform wherein creative industry leaders, policymakers, workers, and communities imparted insights, shared goals, cited inspirations, and championed the millions of Filipino talents the country should be proud of and propel forward.
This launch, and PCIM as a whole, is a salient feature of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act or RA No. 11904. Lapsed into law last July 28, 2022, this act establishes concrete policies, programs, and a governance framework that will aid in the development of Philippine creative sectors into something that will be more sustainable, inclusive, diverse, disruptive, and globally competitive.
RA No. 11904 was authored by Cong. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, House Special Committee on Creative Industries Chairperson and a creative himself. He was also among the main speakers during the PCIM launch, opening the event with a message on the ever-present vitality of the Philippines’ creative industries and how the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act will further empower that.
“There’s always been a struggle, there’s always been a challenge, but what is important is that we are all here together fighting, championing, and raising the level of Filipino creativity here and around the world and that starts with the celebration of the Creative Industry Month,” he said in his opening remarks.
Cong. de Venecia also touched on how much creatives have been such a huge part of and contributed so much to the Philippines’ economic landscape and cultural capital even before the support provided by RA No. 11904. The law is instrumental in understanding what the creative industry is, comprises of, and contributes, and therefore it gives the government a better and more nuanced view of the support and framework that it needs. With that in mind, Cong. de Venecia emphasized this means that now, with this law in place, the already-thriving creative industries will be able to reach even newer heights.
While this, in itself, is already a momentous win for creatives nationwide, Cong. de Venecia called for continued support for policies, events, and programs that support local creatives and made sure to remind everyone of the creative industry’s gravity when it comes to the Philippines’ development and identity as a whole.
“The creative industries do more than just entertain us. They inspire Innovation, they challenge the status quo, they disrupt in a good way, and they help shape our future. They are the heartbeat of our society’s imagination,” he emphasized.
Representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were also present at the launch, namely Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba, the DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group Undersecretary, and Directors Lilian G. Salonga and Jo-Dann N. Darong from the DTI Competitiveness Bureau.
Dr. Albada shared the Philippine Creative Industries Council’s plans to integrate culture, creativity, and technology: “These tech trends [that we see today] have the potential to enhance the production, distribution, and consumption of creative content while opening up new avenues for economic growth.”
She talked about the programs in place for nurturing this synergy and why it’s so important in the greater picture of the mission to elevate the creative industries: “Embracing the fusion of creativity, culture, and technology opens a realm of infinite possibilities. It’s a canvas where the rich tapestry of our heritage blends seamlessly with the innovation of the digital age,” she said. “This fusion not only fuels economic progress but also preserves our identity and stories for generations to come.”
Directors Salonga and Darong then took the stage to discuss the countless PCIM celebrations to watch out for in the coming months.
Director Salonga introduced the upcoming Young Creatives Challenge, where young artists can showcase their works in music, theater, film, graphic novel, digital animation, and game development, not just to compete, but also to propel their creative careers forward. “[This competition] not only celebrates creativity but also empowers the youth as catalysts in promoting the tapestry of Philippine creativity to a global audience,” she said.
Afterward, Jo-Dann Darong, National Creative Director for PCIM celebrations, walked through the many activities that await Filipinos this month, all of which embody PCIM’s theme “Celebrating Filipino Creativity, Advancing Creative Philippines.” These include festivals, conferences, seminars, art and book fairs, workshops, performances, and more. These festivities span different art forms and take place all over the country, emphasizing the council’s mission to decentralize and diversify the Philippine creative industry.
This was followed by National Commission for Cultural and the Arts (NCCA) Deputy Executive Director Marichu G. Tellano who expressed NCCA’s support for PCIM and the ways the organization plans to advocate for the Philippine Creative Industries Council’s endeavors.
The PCIM truly marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s recognition and celebration of its creative talents and, with many new developments and initiatives already underway that put creative talents and communities first, it proves to just be the beginning of a more creative future for the Philippines.