President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by Senator Franklin Drilon, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, former Governor Neil Tupas, Sr. and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala,  lowers the time capsule during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) II at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol along Bonifacio Drive in Iloilo City on Thursday (February 21). The Php11.21 billion JRMP II project is a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) designed to significantly contribute to sustaining the country's rice self-sufficiency level. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by Senator Franklin Drilon, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, former Governor Neil Tupas, Sr. and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, lowers the time capsule during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) II at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol along Bonifacio Drive in Iloilo City on Thursday (February 21). The Php11.21 billion JRMP II project is a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) designed to significantly contribute to sustaining the country’s rice self-sufficiency level. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Artists, such as those engaged in visual and performing arts, may soon enjoy the same benefits being enjoyed by regular workers in the country should a bill filed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. becomes a law.

House Bill 6068 seeks the recognition of artists as professionals so they could be accorded the proper rights and privileges due them.

Under the bill, an artist is defined as “any person who creates or gives creative expression to, or recreates works of art, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be recognized as an artist.” This includes indigenous artists and cultural performers.

The bill said an accredited artist refers to an artist who is a Filipino, at least 18 years of age, who complies with the requirements for accreditation provided for in the bill, or those members of existing arts guilds duly registered and accredited as provided for by the law.

For an individual to become an accredited artist, one must be a Filipino citizen, at least 18 years of age and posseses experiences in the different art disciplines or forms such as Literary Arts of which he/she has authored five poems or two short stories (Literary Arts); has participated in five dance productions or five music productions; five theater performances; five film performances; has built five structures (Architecture); has mounted five exhibits (Visual and Design Arts) or has managed at least five productions or programs.

The measure provides that an accredited artist shall have the rights and privileges that could be accorded to them by PhilHealth, Social Security System or Government Service Insurance System, and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG).

An accredited artist shall likewise have the right to have access to free legal aid and information, medical assistance, hospitalization, and options for second or alternative careers.

Furthermore, the bill provides for the provision of a 10-percent discount for accredited artists on sale of goods and services from all establishments such as but not limited to medicines, professional fees of attending physicians; medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in hospitals and medical facilities.

In pushing for the bill’s passage, Tupas noted that artists have not acquired professional working status and standardized benefits despite the constitutional provisions recognizing their valuable contributions to society.

“They have not been afforded medical, disability, retirement, death insurance and housing benefits despite their contributions to the cultural development of the Philippines,” he said.

Tupas, chair of the House of Representatives committee on justice, said it is the State’s duty to enact and implement appropriate policies for the welfare and protection of artists, including artists who are members of indigenous cultural communities.(MNS)