MUPH trophy payment issue opens talks about compensation for artists

June 13, 2024 - 6:37 PM
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Photo shows trophies made by Jef Albea and the artist (Jef Albea via Facebook)

The Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) is now under fire after the pageant’s trophy artist, Jef Albea, revealed that the MUPH organization did not pay him.

Albea, a costume designer and visual artist was announced as the pageant’s official trophy designer last May 18.

Five of his creations debuted on stage last May 22 with the MUPH showcasing his signature doll-like sculptures in stiff and flowy gowns.

However, in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday, Albea revealed that the payment for his artworks has not yet been settled.

According to him, the MUPH org has “vanished into thin air”.

“They refused to pay me for the trophies I designed and crafted for the coronation night. All the effort, dedication and passion I put in creating these pieces, ended up ignored and disregarded when payment was due,” Albea wrote.

“I do not need nor will I accept a single centavo from the organization anymore. What I need now is for them to learn that ARTISTS DESERVE RESPECT,” he added.

Albea further explained the effort artists pour in to produce similar work, as he advocated for proper treatment of fellow artists.

“We pour our hearts and souls into our creations. Our ideas don’t just appear from thin air just to work for an xdeal. They are the result of intense thought, deep emotions, and sleepless nights. Not to mention, opportunities missed, money and years spent honing our craft,” the artist said.

“I fiercely advocate for my fellow artists with unwavering passion, not all artists can take and afford this mistreatment,” he added.

“PLEASE, DO NOT LET OUR WORK BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED,” Albea concluded.

In the comment’s section of Albea’s post, many said they could relate to the artist’s sentiments, and share how their clients also disappeared after they delivered their work.

“Susko, ako nga, umakyat pa ako ng Tagaytay para mag-deliver, tapos wala na, naglaho na ang usapan, tag ko na kaya?! I feel you sir Jef Albea,” Dhennis Siguia, a sculptor and painter, remarked on Facebook.

One X (Formerly Twitter) noted how vital it is to be familiar with invoices and payment documentation.

“The MUPH & Jef Albea issue is so common in the Philippines. Us, from creative industry, should register as professional service provider in BIR. Invoice is important for business documentations and tax. We from creative industry are required from this. No one is exempted!” the online user wrote.

Others stressed the importance of paying artists and proper treatment for them.

“Dapat nagbayad si MUPH. Kung may payment delay, naasikaso dapat agad. Respect should be given to artists. Deserve nila un.  They put much time and effort on each art piece. Pinakamahalaga, ang gwapo gwapo ni Jef Albea,” another X user wrote.

“Artists here in our country are not respected unless may media mileage / trending ka. Laging nasa isip nila: ‘Madali lang naman ginawa mo. Kahit anak ko, kayang gawin yan’. Sad but true. It’s better to showcase your work abroad than here in our country. Mas mabuti pa banyaga, nirerespeto trabaho mo at di ka nila babaratin sa asking rate mo,” another Facebook user commented.

Albea’s post has so far garnered 214,000 reactions; 4,800 comments and 38,000 shares.

MUPH’s side

Meanwhile, to clear the issue, Borg Roxas, the organization’s production head, replied to Albea’s concern in a different post.

He denied the allegations that his team refused to pay his dues.

“Wala naman tinatakasan,” he said.

“First, last year at The Miss Philippines finals, we paid him 150,000 pesos without any OR,” he added.

When Albea asked the production to pay him P75,000, Roxas said that they were going to settle this payment with proper paperwork.

“Kausap din nila ang staff namin even until yesterday June 12 na inaayos lang for billing kasi ang daming suppliers sa production from artists to technicals etc.,” Roxas explained.

Roxas said that the production had a lot on their plate and that billing statements would be assessed in different dates to organize them properly.

“Sa production side, kailangan namin idefend sa management kahit walang billing or invoice. Nag yes naman agad management sa amin. Pero sa usual na may billing and proper documentation lang para pag dating sa filing ng taxes, madefend namin ang expenses. Lahat naman mababayaran,” he concluded.

On Thursday evening, MUPH also denied Albea’s claims and called it “unfounded allegations.” It also reiterated Roxas’ comment about the standard procedure of billing.

“The Miss Universe Philippines Organization vehemently denies the unfounded allegations made by Jef Albea regarding the payment for the trophies he supplied. Contrary to his claims, we have had communications with his staff on this matter,” the organization said.
“We categorically deny that the MUPh Org. neither refused to pay, disregarded or ignored payment for the trophies. In accordance with the standard procedure of billing for suppliers to sponsors, MUPh needs proper documentation for the said transaction,” it added.
In its statement, it called on the public to refrain from spreading misinformation.
“We will not hesitate to pursue legal action to address and resolve this unfounded accusation,” MUPH org said.
“We urge the public to refrain from spreading misinformation and have faith that the truth will ultimately prevail,” it concluded.

Miss Universe Philippines 2024 concluded on May 22 with Bulacan beauty Chelsea Manalo taking home the crown. She bested 52 other candidates and is set to compete in Mexico this year.