THE Philippines has what it takes to become among the five largest creative economies in the world in 2030, a key figure in both the private and public sector believes.
But we need a plan to get there.
Kenneth Cobonpue, an international award-winning designer and co-chair of the Regional Development Council (RDC), proposed that the country come up with a creative economy master plan, which he tagged as “an urgent need” as he envisions the creative industry becoming the country’s next economic growth driver.
Currently, he said, it is only the Philippines that does not have a clear creative economic strategy among the 10 member-states in Southeast Asia.
“Unlike low-cost services, creativity generates higher value and is more resistant to automation,” said Cobonpue in a presentation to delegates of the 8th Private Sector Representatives National Convention in Panglao, Bohol last June 21 to 23. The gathering was organized by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7.
“This is a field where we could really excel... because we are, by nature, very creative. Creativity requires little investment and capital. It’s something we should develop,” Cobonpue said in a NEDA 7 statement.
While awaiting the formulation of a creative economy master plan, Cobonpue said he and other industry players have formed the Philippine Creative Economy Council to “try to map out strategies for creative industries.”
Other members of the council are the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Board of Investments, and the Design Center of the Philippines.
NEDA said that Cobonpue’s advocacy supports the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP), which puts an emphasis on promoting creative industries and the value and culture of creative excellence and imagination, and Filipino creativity.
In Central Visayas, the 2017-2022 Regional Development Plan also seeks to support creative sector micro, small and medium enterprises through DTI and the local business chambers.
DTI’s Trade and Investments Promotions Group (TIPG) has identified Cebu as among the Philippine cities that could be in the Creative Cities Network (CCN) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Meanwhile, Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental could tap its strength in literature for it to become part of the CCN.
The TIPG is working on helping at least one Philippine city become part of the CCN by 2018. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have cities that are part of CCN.
The creative economy is an important part of global trade. The global market for traded creative goods and services totaled $547 billion in 2012, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In the same year, Europe ranked as the largest exporter of creative goods among developed countries, with a 30 percent share of the global market, followed by US and Japan. Meanwhile, in developing economies, China led the race followed by Eastern and Southeast Asia.
However, in UNCTAD’s Top 20 Creative Economies, only Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand from Southeast Asia made it to the list.
UNCTAD defines the creative economy as an “emerging concept dealing with the interface between creativity, culture, economics, and technology in a contemporary world dominated by images, sounds, texts, and symbols.” Creative industries are classified into four: heritage, arts, media, and functional creations.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on July 15, 2017.
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