The public called on the government to support the local entertainment industry after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada suggested banning Korean dramas and other foreign-made films and TV shows.
During the Senate hearing on the 2023 budget of the Film Development Council of the Philippines on Tuesday, the actor-turned-politician said local actors are losing their jobs because Filipinos support Korean shows and actors.
“Ang aking obserbasyon ‘pag patuloy tayo nagpapalabas ng Korean telenovela, ang hinahangaan ng ating mga kababayan ay itong mga Koreano at nawawalan ng trabaho at kita ‘yung ating mga artistang Pilipino,” Estrada said.
“Kaya minsan pumapasok sa aking isipan na i-ban na itong mga telenovela ng mga foreigner at dapat ang mga artista nating Pilipino, na talagang may angking galing sa pag-arte, ay ‘yun naman dapat ang ipalabas natin sa sariling bansa natin,” he continued.
Calls for state support
Estrada’s proposal did not sit well with Korean drama fans and members of the entertainment industry. They said that banning foreign films and series does not address the real issue in the being faced by media and entertainment workers.
“Pag-aralan dapat kung ano ba ang dahilan at tinatangkilik natin ang foreign movies. Saan ba tayo nag-la-lapse? ‘Di po solusyon ang i-ban ang mga foreign films at kung ito po din ay inyong gagawin, tinatanggalan ninyo ng right to choose o freedom to decide ang mga kababayan natin,” a Facebook user wrote.
Many demanded government support to bolster the local entertainment industry highlighting how the South Korean government invests in films.
“The Korean government is the one supporting its film industry in the form of grants and incentives, which drive them to grow more. Here in the Philippines, our government is not doing anything for the film industry,” an online user wrote.
“Ang Korean government nag-i-invest sila sa entertainment industry kaya lumalago, sana kayo rin tulungan na lang ang entertainment industry ng Pinas hindi yung ibaban yung Kdrama. Buti sana kung parehas nang quality mga palabas nang Pinoy sa Korean, though may maganda namang palabas ang mga Pinoy kaso iilan lang,” another online user said.
“Instead na ibawal [ang foreign films and shows], make local drama competitive. For example, the telenovela ‘Pangako Sayo’ was a hit worldwide. We can’t confine our Filipinos in the country boundaries as this is a democratic free society,” a Facebook user suggested.
Award-winning writer Jerry Gracio cited that many former members of showbiz joined politics and are now in their respective posts.
Ke rami-rami nating kasama sa showbiz na nasa Senate at House, ano na nagawa nila para sa industriya at sa mga manggagawa sa industriya? Tapos, aanchahin ninyo ang KDrama?
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) October 18, 2022
Kung matitino lang sana, sa dami ng mga politiko natin na dating artista, matagal na sana nating naungusan ang South Korea.
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) October 18, 2022
Meanwhile, other Filipinos cited that the denial of the franchise of ABS-CBN widely affected the media and entertainment industry.
“When you decided against the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN, that’s when actors and actresses start to lose/have less projects,” a social media user said.
“Uhh, thousands of Filipinos from the entertainment industry lost their jobs because the Duterte government shut down ABS-CBN — the biggest media franchise in the PH. ‘Wag na maghanap ng iba pang sisisihin. Dinamay mo pa Kdrama,” a Twitter user wrote.
About 11,000 ABS-CBN employees lost their job after the media giant was forced to shut down following the revocation of the network’s legislative franchise in May 2020.
Others suggested that lawmakers should provide the media giant with a franchise.
“If the gov’t wants to support the local industry, it can do so by providing better tax & other financial incentives. Promote free competition too. That means giving ABS-CBN its franchise,” lawyer Gideon Peña said in a tweet.
Scriptwriter Noreen Capili shared the same sentiment.
“Dear Senators, kung talagang concerned kayo sa mga film and TV workers who are losing jobs — bigyan niyo ng franchise ang ABSCBN! Hindi yung i-ban niyo ang Kdrama! ‘You do not expel competition, you challenge this with better work'” Capili wrote in a tweet.
Estrada’s follow-up statement
Following the public ire, Estrada said his comment on banning K-dramas and foreign shows was only blurted out of his frustration.
“Kaugnay sa aking pahayag kahapon sa mga foreign-made shows, my statement stems from the frustration that while we are only too eager and willing to celebrate South Korea’s entertainment industry, we have sadly allowed our own to deteriorate because of the lack of support from the moviegoing public,” the senator wrote.
“I wish that the zealousness of our kababayans in patronizing foreign artists can be replicated to support our homegrown talents who I strongly believe are likewise world-class,” he continued.
He also clarified that he has nothing against South Korea’s entertainment field admitting that the country has much to learn from them.
“Pero huwag naman nating kalimutan at balewalain ang trabaho, ang mga pinaghirapan at angking likha ng ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” Estrada emphasized.
“South Korea’s phenomenal success is rooted in their love of country. It is high time that we follow their example and do the same for our own entertainment industry that is at best, barely surviving,” he said.