The Philippine Creative Industries Act | Inquirer Opinion
Business Matters

The Philippine Creative Industries Act

/ 05:04 AM February 13, 2021

Whenever I speak about the need for Philippine creative economy legislation, many people confuse it with promoting Filipino art, culture, and heritage. While creative economy policy includes support for these sectors, it also supports commercial media, functional design, science, technology, and innovation.

The differences between cultural policies and creative economy policies go even deeper. Cultural policies seek to define, protect, and promote the tangible and intangible expressions that define who we are as a people. In the Philippines, there have been many laws passed that support culture, such as Republic Act No. 7356 which created the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and RA 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act which seeks to protect heritage sites and buildings from destructive development.


Creative economy policies, on the other hand, focus on promoting creative industries as a priority economic sector to generate high-value jobs, contribute to GDP growth, increase international exports of Filipino creative products and services, and develop our intellectual property capital.

The Philippine Creative Industries Act of 2021 seeks to do precisely that. This landmark bill is being pushed by Rep. Toff de Venecia, chair of the special committee on creative industries and performing arts of the 18th Congress. The bill, which consolidates previous bills supporting creative industries, is the most comprehensive Philippine creative economy legislation filed to date.


The key elements of the bill are as follows:

It clearly defines the scope of Philippine creative industries to include nine domains: audio and audiovisual media; digital interactive media; books, publishing, and printed media; creative services; design; visual arts; performing arts; traditional cultural expressions; and cultural sites.

The bill proposes significant government funding and incentives to reignite growth for creative industries. Some of these proposals include infrastructure support for the development of creative zones; tax incentives and reduced customs duties; support for the digitalization of creative industries; support for creative education and technical training; a creative industries trust fund; and access to low-cost financing to support creative startups.

The bill forms the Philippine Creative Industries Development Council, chaired by the secretary of trade and industry, and includes eight ex-officio members from various government agencies, and nine private sector members representing the different creative domains. The task of the council is to spearhead the Philippine Creative Industries Development Plan (PCIDP), which will set the short, medium, and long-term growth plan for the sector. The council will also facilitate a whole-of-government approach toward supporting creative industries, instead of the current situation where different government agencies support very narrow segments of creative industries.

To implement this plan, the bill also proposes the formation of a National Secretariat for Creative Industries. This Secretariat will be headed by a full-time executive director appointed by the President. The executive director should have at least 10 years of leadership experience in creative industries. The executive director will form a team of creative industries professionals who will be responsible for the execution of the PCIDP’s strategies, projects, and action plans, in collaboration with different government agencies and the private sector.

As of this writing, the bill is in its final draft for approval by the House, after which it will be submitted to the Senate for their approval. and then endorsement to the President. The goal is to have the Philippine Creative Industries Act signed into law before the President’s next State of the Nation Address in July 2021.

The Philippine Creative Industries Act should work in tandem with existing cultural policies that preserve and promote our past so we maintain a sense of identity as a people rooted in our historic, ethnic, and geographic heritage. This Act will bring us toward a creative and innovative future, and give us the power to create what we will become.


The Philippine Creative Industries Act can help us keep pace with the 4th Industrial Revolution, where innovation and creativity are the drivers of growth. It can help us evolve from being backroom service providers and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppliers toward developing our own original content, products, and brands. It can help raise our country’s capacity to go beyond copying others, and raise a new generation of Filipino creators, inventors, and innovators.


Paolo Mercado is founder and president of the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines.


Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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TAGS: creative economy, culture, economy, GDP, Heritage, Industry, intellectual property, Media, Philippine Creative Industries Act
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