On October 18, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said that he is thinking about banning foreign-made telenovelas to help curb the rising unemployment rates of the local industry.
He added that Filipinos should promote local projects instead of foreign-made ones.
“I don’t agree with Korean shows, Filipino actors are losing their jobs and income, I’m thinking of banning these telenovelas by foreigners,” remarked Estrada.
Famous personalities from within the industry proceeded to call out Estrada’s comment. teleplay writer Suzette Doctolero, theater artist Reb Atadero, and screenwriter Jerry Gracio are among those who voiced outrage against Estrada’s remark.
Hindi need ban! Dapat ang govt mag invest sa local tv/movie ind. Yung excellence na na achieved ng Korea, nangyari kasi may full govt support! Iisa ang kumpas: promote Korea thru culture: kpop, series, fashion, food etc all over the world. So multi-billion industry na nila. https://t.co/Kw0l95pGOP
— Suzette Doctolero (@SuziDoctolero)
Blocking K-Drama won’t increase support for local shows. Learn from SoKor. Invest in the arts and cultivate appreciation in schools. The govt has to have the backs of producers and artists. Dahil wala, nobody risks creating anything na hindi “patok sa masa.” Kaya rin paulit-ulit.
— Reb Atadero (@rebranger) October 19, 2022
Ke rami-rami nating kasama sa showbiz na nasa Senate at House, ano na nagawa nila para sa industriya at sa mga manggagawa sa industriya? Tapos, aanchahin ninyo ang KDrama?
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) October 18, 2022
Netizens are also quick to point out the misplaced priorities of the government.
Jinggoy Estrada's call to ban K-dramas is silly but it's consistent with how many Filipino politicians think.
We need more leaders whose approach to governance is to promote, not to prohibit. To support, not to punish. To build up, not to shut down. To cultivate, not to kill.
— Gideon Lasco (@gideonlasco) October 19, 2022
Instead of blaming the public, maybe it would be more helpful if we see it from the perspective that the creative industry is hardly supported by the government. https://t.co/2aappBGiPj
— RJ Naguit 🌹 (@docrjnaguit) October 19, 2022
Our basic problem is that we don’t support our movie industry well or even huge media stations which were making successful movies before. We kill the goose the lays the golden eggs. We should perhaps try not to be oppressive but encourage people and local business to grow. https://t.co/Vj5ZspESgp
— Tony Leachon MD (@DrTonyLeachon) October 19, 2022
Atty. Chel Diokno even decided to shout irony at the Senator’s comment.
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) October 19, 2022
During the senate hearing, actor and FDCP chairman Tirso Cruz III was also quick to respond to Estrada’s remark and stated the plans of his council.
He emphasized that the primary plan of the council is to focus on production and marketing of local films.
“Ang isa pong pangunahing programa namin ay talagang mag-focus sa paggawa ng mga local film muna dahil sabi namin, ang unang-una na importante ay ang maniwala ang kapwa Pilipino sa pelikulang Pilipino,” he emphasized.
In 2021, Twitter data released the ranking of the Philippines being third in having the most number of K-pop fans. Thus, the country is one of the biggest consumers of Korean content.
Contrary to the Senator’s claim, the success of Korean entertainment is not fully-attributed to foreign consumption but due to ‘special support’ given by the government. Korean author Euny Hong said in an interview in 2015 that the Korean government treats the K-pop industry as an industry that must-be protected.
As a result of South Korea’s financial crisis in the ’90s, the government allotted a budget for the formation of the Ministry of Culture to protect the special interests of their entertainment industry.
“It turns out that the Korean government treats its K-pop industry the way that the American government treats its automobile and banking industry, meaning that these are industries that have to be protected,” said Hong.
Estrada retracted his statement a day after its release by saying that his statement stemmed from his frustration with the people’s willingness to patronize foreign projects. He also said that he only wished that this willingness is replicated to support local projects as well.
Estrada added that the Filipinos should learn to follow the example of South Korea’s success being “rooted in their love of country.”