House Bill 6068, authored by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., aims to give artists, such as those engaged in visual or performing arts, the same benefits enjoyed by regular workers in the country.
Tupas said despite the constitutional provisions recognizing the valuable contributions of artists to society, artists have not acquired professional working status and standardized benefits.
“They have not been afforded medical, disability, retirement, death insurance and housing benefits despite their contributions to the cultural development of the Philippines,” Tupas said.
It is the duty of the State to enact and implement appropriate policies for the welfare and protection of artists, including artists who are members of indigenous cultural communities, the lawmaker said.
The bill added that it shall be the policy of the State to protect and promote the rights of an artist to be considered as a person actually engaged in cultural work and to benefit from all legal, social and economic advantages pertaining to the status of workers.
In line with this policy, the State shall improve the social security, labor, medical, and legal conditions of the artist, whether employed or self-employed, taking into account their contributions to cultural development, through a system of accreditation.
The bill said the State shall create and sustain a culture encouraging freedom of artistic expression and communication, and to facilitate the release of necessary resources in developing the artists’ creative talents.
It shall also develop means of providing welfare and legal information to artists, as well as provide second/alternative career opportunities to artists who wish to retire from their respective art.
Under the bill, artist is taken to mean any person who creates or gives creative expression to, or recreates works of art, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be recognized as an artist. This includes indigenous artists and cultural performers.
Accredited artist, on the other hand, refers to an artist who is a Filipino, at least 18 years of age, in compliance with the requirements for accreditation in Section 7 of this Act or those members of existing arts guilds duly registered and accredited as provided for by the law.
The measure provides that an accredited artist shall have the rights and privileges to be provided with PhilHealth, SSS/GSIS, Home Development Mutual Fund and shall be entitled to all other benefits as provided by the pertinent provisions of law.
It further states that an accredited artist shall have the rights and privileges of free legal aid and information, medical assistance, hospitalization, and options for second/alternative careers.
The accredited artists shall also enjoy the grant of 10 percent discount privilege on sale of goods and services from all establishments such as but not limited to medicines, professional fees of attending physicians; medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in hospitals and medical facilities. (Sunnex)