The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has earmarked P4 million for cash assistance to artists and cultural workers displaced by the enhanced community quarantine, said NCCA Chair Nick Lizaso.
The “NCCA’s Assistance Program for Cultural Workers Under the State of Calamity” aims to provide quick cash assistance of P5,000 net of tax, to around 800 beneficiaries in the arts and culture sector. They should be workers who are not under an employer-employee relationship, without regular income, or are working freelance, with no benefits, and/or have no employers to run to, and those whose source of income are gone due to the crisis shall be prioritized.
The executive council members of the NCCA’s national committees will shortlist by April 20 35 potential beneficiaries who will be required to submit minimum documentary requirements for them to avail themselves of the cash assistance.
The group Artists Welfare of the Philippines, Inc. shall also identify 135 artists within their network.
While the national committees welcomed the development, they criticized the NCCA Management Committee (Mancom) for not consulting them nor the commission en banc.
Rolando Tolentino, head of the NCCA National Committee on Cinema, said the national committees should have been consulted inasmuch as they would have to prepare the list of beneficiaries.
He added that Republic Act 7356 and its implementing guidelines give to the four sub-commissions and the national committees under them and not the Mancom the power to formulate policies and programs for artists and cultural workers.
Earlier, NCCA had endorsed 748 applications from artists and cultural workers to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) Amelioration Program.
Those who have become beneficiaries of the Tupad Amelioration Program will no longer be covered in the new assistance program, said NCCA.The “NCCA Assistance Program for Cultural Workers Under the State of Calamity” is funded through of the Commission’s “Arts Program as Quick Response for Natural and Human Induced Disasters,” approved for the year 2020 by the NCCA Board ofCommissioners.
The Quick Response program has been previously used to address the needs of artists, cultural workers and communities affected by typhoons, earthquakes and armed conflicts. INQ