WHAT happens to Filipinos whose line of work and source of income was not deemed essential by the government?
During the start of quarantine in the Philippines, there had been changes in the movement restrictions with emphasis on only those considered essential as paying the bills, going to the bank, buying food and medicine, and emergency transactions in the hospital. But many of our Filipino brothers and sisters get their income from industries not considered essential such as arts, culture, and crafts.
This became more challenging for artists as they had less and less income as the quarantine went by. During the first few months of the quarantine, visual artists would trade their paintings for essential goods as rice, grocery items, milk for their children, and others through the Davao Barter Community. It became a hit and it also gave opportunity for artists to be discovered and be hired for specific projects.
Aside from that, small-scale artists would also make drawings, sketches, stickers, etc to sell online to make ends meet as well. Others, on the other hand, decided to try other means of livelihood far from the usual arts and craft that they do just so they can provide for their family.
Even filmmakers opt to screen their movies through online film festival for a fee.
It had been difficult for everyone but most especially for people who still needed to prove their importance to the equally-struggling and starving community.
One of the good news regarding this issue was published by the Philippine News Agency on December 2, 2020. Leyte 4th district representative Lucy Torres-Gomez pushes for the creation of an online platform for Filipino creative arts, products, and services to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
"We simply want to give them an online venue to meet customers, conduct the sale, accept payment, and deliver either physical goods, digital products, such as written documents or images, live stream events, taped film and video or live meetings and classes. As an added feature, this platform must be easily accessible via smart phone, with internet access already built in," Torres-Gomez said in an article published by PNA.
The House Bill No. 8064 or the Online Pinoy Creative Act "seeks to rapidly create a simple online market that is standardized and easy to follow so Filipino crafters, artisans, artists, musicians, filmmakers, wellness providers, instructors, chefs, to name a few, could get back to what they do best."
"This digital platform could be easily procured and customized by the DTI in a short amount of time. Many Filipino families are relying on targeted and function-specific support to them (to) survive this pandemic. I hope we can deliver," Torres-Gomez added.