It has been a week since the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) introduced the Disaster/Emergency Assistance and Relief (DEAR) Program to help audio-visual (AV) content industry stakeholders who are affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 situation has led to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases related to COVID-19 and the declaration of a nationwide state of calamity by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
FDCP, which is under the Office of the President, launched the DEAR Program as an immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis. The DEAR fund is only activated whenever the President of the Republic of the Philippines declares a state of calamity due to a major natural disaster or public health emergency. It now has two programs, DEAR ACTION! and DEAR PRESS!, under its wing.
The DEAR ACTION! (For Displaced Freelance AV Workers) was launched on March 23 to provide P8,000 as financial support to freelance AV content industry members whose work was suddenly postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 situation. These include technical crew, production/post-production staff, on-camera performers like actors, dubbers, stunt people, and other creatives who do not have a direct employer, are paid on a “per day” basis, and are not eligible for government-instituted benefits.
On March 30, FDCP introduced DEAR PRESS! (For Displaced Freelance Entertainment Press) for freelance entertainment press members, including, but not limited to, editors, writers, and reporters who abruptly lost work or became out of work due to COVID-19. According to FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño, “Napaka-crucial ng role na ginagampanan ng entertainment press para buhayin at bigyang kulay ang ating showbiz industry. Sila ang tagapaghatid ng mga nangyayari sa loob at labas ng showbiz para sa ating mga audience. Unfortunately, they too, belong to the freelance sector and cannot be afforded unemployment benefits. So in line with DOLE’s CAMP Program which provides unemployment assistance for employees, FDCP has created DEAR ACTION! and DEAR PRESS! to support the freelancers who are not covered by the CAMP Program.”
FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño with the Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors (SPEEd)
The DEAR PRESS! Program coverage is the National Capital Region and will cater to those who have a “no work, no pay” status, are not affiliated with a company, and are not qualified to receive benefit payments from their local government unit and government institutions such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Social Security System (SSS), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Approved DEAR PRESS! applicants will be given P5,000 as a one-time tax-free financial aid from FDCP to help augment their expenses during the national state of calamity. The DEAR PRESS! application period is from March 30 to April 30, 2020.
Here are the DEAR PRESS! Program requirements:
- Filled out National Registry for Entertainment Press (NREP) and DEAR PRESS! Application Forms
- Any proof of income (income tax return, payslips, vouchers, etc.) or Press ID
- Certificate of Engagement from the publisher, editor, or media publication
- Copy or link of at least one most recently published article about Philippine Showbiz/Entertainment Industry (from January 2020 to March 2020) or any published article on a press event sponsored or supported by FDCP (from 2019 to 2020)
Applications must be sent online to the FDCP National Registry at email@example.com. Once an application has been approved, FDCP personnel will deposit the P5,000 to a beneficiary’s bank account or will send it through a money remittance service. As the DEAR fund is a government fund for the welfare of beneficiaries, approved applicants will be required to render return service in the spirit of giving back to the community and AV content industry. DEAR PRESS! beneficiaries will be asked to participate in two (2) FDCP-led or FDCP-supported events, activities, or projects within two (2) years after the receipt of DEAR assistance.
Meanwhile, entertainment press members affected by COVID-19 who are part of a company’s payroll (whether as regular, contractual, seasonal, or project-based employees), may refer to the DOLE assistance programs COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). They may also check out the assistance programs of SSS, DTI, Department of Finance (DOF), and their respective local government units.
For inquiries, contact the FDCP National Registry via firstname.lastname@example.org or through text messaging at +63 917 800 3227.
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