Senator Sonny Angara has sought to grant tax incentives and other perks to foreign film makers should they shoot their movies here in the Philippines.
The incentives are contained in Angara’s Senate Bill 1330, shortly titled, “Philippine Film and Television Tourism Act,” which, if enacted into law, will make locally-shot international movies huge “advertising billboards” that will surely generate the interest of foreign tourists to include the Philippines in their list of destinations.
“Film tourism is a growing phenomenon wherein tourists visit destinations that they saw in movies, televisions, or videos. We have to take advantage of this trend by encouraging foreign film producers to shoot here in the Philippines in exchange for certain benefits, in addition to best locations for movie making,” Angara said, pointing out the job opportunities that will definitely result from such additional tourist arrivals in the country.
Section 9 of the bill specifically grants an international or foreign film or television production tax and duty free importation of filming equipment, to be determined and endorsed by the Philippine Film and Television Tourism Authority (PFTTA), which shall be created to run the affairs related to film and television tourism.
Another incentive is the issuance to foreign nationals who are members of the international film production entities, as duly endorsed by the PFTTA, of a multiple entry special visa valid for a period of one year.
“By boosting the film tourism, the Philippines stands to increase tourist arrival and stimulate the economy. A dollar spent by a tourist for accommodation is multiplied by 2.1 times for the economy as it creates jobs and will have positive effect on other economic or industrial sectors,” the chair of the Senate ways and means committee said.
He cited the experience of New Zealand where its international visitor arrival increased by 50 percent since the first instalment showing of the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy in 2001.
“Recognizing the potential of international and local motion picture production to create jobs, grow the economy, and raise the nation’s international profile, offering production tax incentives and other additional benefits are necessary steps our nation ought to take to seize this new opportunity as levers for growth and development,” Angara stressed.
He said the government should also give its support to the local movie industry, which has been begging for attention.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, from 1960 to 1999, the Philippines produced an average of 140 movies each year.
However, from 2000 to 2009, local film output fell to an average of 73 annually. Last year, only 78 local films were made.