The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has expanded the coverage of its DEAR ACTION! program today to cater to more freelance audio-visual (AV) content workers who have been displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. The income cap on qualified applicants is lifted, the required number of suspended work days is lessened, and AV companies can now apply on behalf of their freelance workers.
DEAR ACTION! (For Displaced Freelance AV Workers) is the first initiative under the FDCP DEAR (Disaster/Emergency Assistance and Relief) Program. The DEAR was created to help freelance AV content workers who have suddenly lost work or became out of work because of a major natural disaster or public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The DEAR fund will only be activated once the President of the Republic of the Philippines declares a state of calamity.
Here are the details of the updates in the DEAR ACTION! application process:
DEAR ACTION! is for all displaced freelance AV content workers.
The DEAR ACTION! is now open to all eligible freelance AV content workers who have suddenly lost work or became out of work due to COVID-19, regardless of how much they make. However, FDCP reserves the right to prioritize low-income earners who have a talent fee of P3,000 or less per day or a package rate of P20,000 or less per project.
DEAR ACTION! applicants must have had five (5) days of suspended or cancelled work due to COVID-19
With regards to the required number of suspended or cancelled work days, it is now reduced from seven days to five (5) days—whether pre-production, production, or post-production work. The five suspended or cancelled work days should fall within March 15 to April 14, 2020. FDCP has also given consideration by offering P5,000 to those who can only establish less than five days of lost work.
AV companies can apply for the DEAR ACTION! aid for their freelancers.
FDCP has allowed AV companies to apply for DEAR ACTION! on behalf of their freelance workers, provided that they meet all of the qualifications and requirements. A company applying for DEAR ACTION! must have a production or business that was suspended as a direct result of COVID-19. An extra step is the verification of the company’s legitimacy.
Since the launch of DEAR ACTION! on March 23, the FDCP National Registry has received more than 1,000 inquiries and has started processing applications. Over 900 film workers were added to FDCP’s database thanks to the Lockdown Cinema Club, which organized its own fundraising program to support low-income film workers. As of April 3, there are more than 500 approved DEAR ACTION! applicants who have started receiving their one-time tax-free benefit payment of P8,000. The release of the DEAR ACTION! financial assistance began on March 27.
“The DEAR Program is FDCP’s own quick response program. It is a disaster fund that was approved days after the Enhanced Community Quarantine was announced. Our Board of Trustees quickly approved a fund that will give financial assistance to our freelance workers because 70% of our workers have a ‘no work, no pay’ status and are paid on a per day or per project basis,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño. She also clarified, “The Department of Labor and Employment’s CAMP (COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program) and FDCP’s DEAR are complementary programs for displaced workers of the AV industry. CAMP is for AV content industry employees under companies while DEAR is for freelancers.”
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, FDCP aims to assist 2,500 freelance AV content workers with a budget of P20 million coming from its limited funds. FDCP has also launched the DEAR PRESS! program that will give P5,000 to freelance entertainment press members affected by the COVID-19 situation. In time, as FDCP continues to seek additional support from the Office of the President and House of Representatives, the national film agency hopes to help 50,000 disaster-affected AV freelancers from the content and live performance sectors across different fields: film, television, animation, and new media.
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