After Senator Robin Padilla’s nonsensically suggested earlier this year that cable cars could be used to solve Manila’s traffic woes, another senator is in the spotlight for considering another ridiculous solution to one of the country’s problems.
During a budget hearing for the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Senator Jinggoy Estrada said has considered banning “Korean telenovelas” (TV dramas) in order to support the Filipino creative industry has crossed his mind.
Addressing FDCP chairman Tirso Cruz III, Estrada argued that the airing of K-Dramas in the country has led to a further surge in the popularity of Korean actors among Filipinos, robbing Filipino actors of jobs and income.
“Kaya minsan… minsan pumapasok sa aking isipan na i-ban na itong mga telenovela ng mga foreigners na dapat ang mga artista nating Pilipino na talagang may angking galing sa pag-arte ay yun naman talaga dapat ang ipalabas natin sa sarili nating bansa,” Estrada, who was formerly an actor himself, said at the hearing.
(Sometimes I think about banning foreigners’ telenovelas, as our Filipino artists who are talented actors need to be featured more in our country.)
Instead, the country promotes Korean products at the expense of local talent, he argued.
“Eh ang prino-promote natin yung mga produkto ng Koreano kaya nagkakaron tayo ng halos maraming mga produktong Koreano rito satin. Imbes na i-promote natin ‘yung sarili natin, ang naipo-promote natin yung mga banyaga,” Estrada added.
(What we promote are Korean products that’s why many of the products here now are Korean. Instead of promoting our very own, we patronize foreigners.)
While perhaps well-intentioned, the idea of banning Korean shows to uplift Filipino creativity did not sit well with many online.
“What we need are better Filipino writers, open-minded directors and producers, and most of all forward-thinking politicians,” one commenter said.
“Doesn’t the country have more urgent matters he needs to attend to?” another argued.
Meanwhile, others offered more comprehensive views on the matter, arguing that the government needed to provide better support to the entertainment and creative industries so they could produce better films and shows.
“Banning foreign films is not the answer. First of all, the Filipino film industry is never dead. There are many beautiful films waiting to be noticed. The Philippines has many talented filmmakers, but their works are not recognized because they lack support. Here in our own country, they lack recognition because advertising is expensive. Our film industry falls low on prioritization. Even those with potential don’t want to try anymore. They need support to improve production,” one user explained.
Another argued that tax incentives would help producers create more quality shows. “If you want more and better shows, you need to give support to the entertainment industry in the form of tax incentives! You think it’s easy to produce? Or why not restore ABS-CBN’s franchise so that more people can have jobs?”
One user pointed out that the Philippine government needs to back the local industry and invest in it as South Korea has. “What Filipino producers need is to improve their films’ quality (with strong government backing like SoKor), not eliminate strong competition.”