The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has approved a cumulative budget of P63.8 million to respond to the call for Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. This funding will augment NCCA's initial P4 million quick response cash assistance program.
The NCCA's initial cash assistance under the "NCCA Assistance Program for Artists and Cultural Workers Under the State of Calamity" currently provides P5000 cash aid to freelance artists and cultural workers "who are not under an employer-employee relationship, without regular income, are working freelance and whose source of income are gone due to the ECQ," they said in a statement last Thursday, April 23. They're able to assist about 1000 beneficiaries under this program.
However, with the second batch of this assistance from the NCCA, they will implement two primary components. The first component earmarks P6.4 million from the approved budget wherein the NCCA will continue the cash assistance program to help an additional 1250 beneficiaries from NCCA-TUPAD registry and those endorsed by the Artists Welfare of the Philippines, Inc. (AWPI) and Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP).
"Ngayon iba na 'yung direction natin, iba 'yung ating approach. Of course hindi rin natin mapag-iwanan ang ating arts and culture sector sa ating new normal dito sa COVID," NCCA executive director Al Ryan Alejandre said in a live video on their official Facebook page.
This new direction allocates the remaining P57.4 million as financial support to "committee-driven grants, subsidy programs, or online projects and activities relevant to each committee’s mandate and/or an option to continue with the cash assistance program," NCCA said in a statement.
This budget will be disbursed to the commission's 19 national committees that cover "various art forms and cultural disciplines including architecture and the allied arts, cinema, dance, dramatic arts, literary arts, music, visual arts, archives, art galleries, historical research, libraries and information service, monuments and sites, museums, communication, language and translation, cultural education, and cultural communities in the north, central, and southern Philippines."
Each committee will also decide how their respective budgets will be used. The NCCA clarifies, however, that "if the committees deem that cash assistance program is the best response for the needs of their sector, the budget may so be allotted with a maximum amount of PhP5,000.00, net of tax, endorsed and approved beneficiaries."
NCCA executive director Al Ryan Alejandre further assured that the NCCA will do their best in helping out the arts and culture sector. "Huwag kayong mag-alala... we're doing our best para masolusyunan itong problemang ito, [together] with the national government," he concluded.