AS A result of the nationwide enhanced community quarantine and lockdown, we have learned to embrace new methods of getting along with this pandemic by using available technology and accessing online means to know what's happening around us and also to be re-acquainted with friends and distant relatives.
For my second term as an executive council member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-Cinema, we missed our first regular meeting which is usually held at the NCCA building in Intramuros. And because of important matters that have to be tackled concerning programs affected by the lock-down and the proposed amelioration or assistance for artists by the commission, we followed the platform that big television networks are using for video and audio conferencing that can accommodate as many parties as possible.
At first, there was Skype that my former non-government organization used a few years back when we had a remote office conference for the programs of the Save Our School Children Foundation Inc. which was supported by the Cabrini Mission.
This time around, my family uses the audio-video chat of Facebook Messenger on an almost daily basis as my eldest daughter is locked-down in Manila and her sister has been on a stay-on-the-job basis for over a week. Said social online chat portal is also ideal for birthday greets, show 'n tell and TikTok video posts as almost everyone on the planet has access to Facebook.
Zoom accordingly is the leader in modern enterprise video communications and its free version is ideal for personal and unlimited one to one meetings. We used it for our NCCA group meeting as it can host up to 100 participants for broadcast and it can also be free but limited only 40-minute on group meetings
As early as March, the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Cordillera as headed by Dr. Amelita Pangilinan of DOH-CAR had a regular updating on the preparations of both national and local government units in the region and my wife spearheads the conduct of the weekly forum that eventually became online because of social distancing. The online or streaming media and stakeholder interaction that was also posted at the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera and Baguio Facebook accounts use the Cisco Webex which is almost similar to Zoom that offers a free plan good for up to 100 participants with an unlimited number of meetings up to 40 minutes but since DOH presumably availed a paid package, the forum usually lasts longer than an hour.
During our NCCA-Cinema online discussions with about eight executive council members participating, we agreed to allocate our 2020 budget in the form of subsidy programs to help alleviate the plight of the artists and cultural workers. Through viva voce voting with raising of hands online, we approved a resolution extending cash assistance for filmmakers and film workers greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, out of meager budgetary allotment as a committee, there will be 100 beneficiaries of P5,000 per island clusters of Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the NCR amounting to 400 beneficiaries.
We have also decided that the remaining budget will be used to generate online projects that could boost filmmakers and film workers to create artworks even at home quarantine. We expect to select One hundred proponents nationwide to receive the "competitive price" of P10,000 in exchange for creating a short 3-12-minute online film about the Covid-19 pandemic with open to interpretations like a documentary, lecture-type or even animation. Proponents will be requested to submit a 1-page proposal as an application. After our proposed deadline for completion might be in October or early November this year, our National Committee on Cinema will again convene to deliberate and choose 100 proponents for the said competitive prize.