Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat and welcome to Creative Futures!

It’s good to know the stakeholders of our Creative Industries are working as one towards establishing the future of the Philippine Creative Economy. In the wake of COVID-19, we cannot ignore the many opportunities that abound in our Creative Economy. Not only can it serve as one of the engines for our country’s growth, it can assist with our recovery from the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Even the world recognizes the power of the Global Creative Economy. Cited as one of the most rapidly growing sectors and contributing 3% to the global GDP, the Cultural and Creative Industries (or CCIs) generate USD 2.250B annually and the Culture Sector employs 30M people worldwide, according to UNESCO.

However, the pandemic caused the closure or cancellation of many museums, festivals, live music events, theatres, cinemas, and other activities last year. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (or OECD), CCIs were among the most affected by the crisis, with jobs at risk ranging from 0.8% to 5.5% across OECD regions.

Fortunately, the Creative Industries were able to adapt and even develop greenshoots. Thanks to being at the forefront of technological adoption like digitalization. They found new ways to reach their audience in music, film, sports, and graphic design through online content platforms. Even online gaming has expanded exponentially during this crisis.

Given the impact of the pandemic on this sector, it was actually appropriate that 2021 was declared as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development at the 74th UN General Assembly in 2019. The pandemic has shown us how essential creativity is to our well-being as we found solace and resilience in films, series, music, and dance.

In the Philippines, the local Creative Industries numbered 305,070 establishments or 30.5% of total establishments in the country last year, many of which were affected by the series of community quarantine lockdowns applied against the pandemic. While some continued full on- site operations, others applied alternative work arrangements or even stopped operations.

During the stricter lockdown of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) last year, about 38% of total establishments had to stop operating. This went down to 4% as the economy was reopening during the GCQ in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Although the surge in COVID cases last March and April required us to temporarily escalate the community quarantine to ECQ and then down to MECQ and now GCQ in NCR Plus Areas. This showed that the government’s efforts to reopen have to be gradual and calibrated in order to prevent any surge while bringing back jobs for the people.

Before the pandemic, the industries provided 4.8M jobs to our people or 11.3% of total employment as of 2019. In that same year, total creative exports amounted to USD 6.8B or 6.0% of total exports, while industry investments amounted to P281M of total approved investments from investment promotions agencies (IPAs). In 2017, the industries’ value-added amounted to P383B or 7.12% of the national total.

We’d like to point out that in 2018, we were ranked 1st in ASEAN for creative services exports and 5th in total creative exports. Within that same year, our total creative exports amounted to USD 4.1B in the Asia-Pacific region.

Overall, the country is in a strong position in terms of our Creative Industries as evidenced by our performance in the 2020 Global Innovation Index (or GII). The Philippines ranked 57th in creative outputs and we are at a competitive position in terms of our creative good exports at 10th place.

That’s why we believe that our Creative Industries can help drive our country’s economic growth in the post-pandemic future. The creative industry sector can also very well be the next service industry-winner, next to the BPO sector. Not to mention that the creative sector is also an important source of trade and investment opportunities, especially for our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

With that in mind, the Creative Economy Roadmap submitted by the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) envisions the Philippines in becoming the top Creative Economy in ASEAN by 2030 in terms of the size and value of our Creative Industries. It also sees our country becoming number one in terms of competitiveness and attractiveness of our creative talent and content in international markets.

To help us realize this goal, Cong. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia spearheaded the Philippine Creative Industries Act, which was filed by the Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc (ACCIB). This bill—which our good congressman will introduce later—aims to provide an enabling policy and governance framework to shape the country’s Creative Industries.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is also doing its part to support you under the Integrated Industry Development Program for the Creative Industries, which provides a strategic direction for your development. This would lead to improved competitiveness, enhanced capability, increased productivity, export promotion and development, and compliance to global standards for greater market access.

As a last point, Filipinos are well-known for being creative geniuses, winning awards and accolades in diverse creative fields abroad. We need to provide appropriate and sustainable support for these creative efforts. This, in turn, will not only strengthen our Creative Economy, but also harness this engine for inclusive growth by creating more jobs and employment for our people. With more Filipinos attaining a more comfortable and greater quality of life, to paraphrase UNCTAD, we can be sure our country can achieve a more creative future.

To conclude, we’d like to recognize the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) for organizing today’s event and we wish everyone a successful Creative Futures!

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 29 June 2021