By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

SUSTAINING THE FILM INDUSTRY. A meeting of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) – made up of officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) – at the MMDA headquarters in Pasig City on Wednesday (Feb. 28, 2024). The MMC on Thursday (Feb. 29, 2024) passed a resolution to waive the 10 percent amusement tax on local films in support of the Filipino film industry. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

MANILA – The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has waived the 10 percent amusement tax for the screenings of all local films in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the next three years to help support and promote the Filipino film industry.

In a statement on Thursday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) acting chair and Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) overall concurrent chair Don Artes said the amusement tax “adds a financial burden to local film producers, potentially affecting the sustainability of the Filipino film industry.”

In response, the MMC passed a resolution to waive the tax, which will be adopted by each local government unit in Metro Manila.

“In support of the resolution, they will amend their respective local revenue codes to waive the amusement tax for Filipino movies exhibited in Metro Manila from Jan. 8 to Dec. 24 of every year for the next three years,” Artes said.

During an MMC meeting on Wednesday, film director Jose Javier Reyes, representing the Film Development Council of the Philippines, said the current state of the Filipino film industry is “dismal” and has declined significantly.

Reyes cited the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, streaming platforms, piracy, and heavy taxation as some of the biggest hurdles being faced by the film sector.

“A producer needs to pay three types of taxes for each film, including 10 percent amusement taxes together with other taxes, such as value-added tax and income tax, making us the most heavily taxed movie industry in the world,” he said.

In January, stakeholders in the local movie industry voiced the same concern to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos during the inaugural Manila International Film Festival.

“The DILG is in full support to reinvigorate the Filipino filmmaking industry and help them by bringing back the local moviegoers into watching in cinemas again,” Abalos said. (PNA)