Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said the government should support artists who lost their source of income to the COVID-19 pandemic by tapping them to paint over the walls of EDSA and beautify the banks along Pasig River.
Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and other related government agencies should find ways to employ them during this very challenging times.
Angara noted that the MMDA, as part of its ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the Pasig River, has tapped artists to paint murals on its walls and banks.
“Maybe the NCCA could recommend some of the artists who need some commissions to the MMDA so there’s a source of income for them because I’m sure kahit papaano yung market for their services have been affected somewhat,” Angara said.
Angara has voiced his support for MMDA’s initiative to reopen the Pasig River ferry system which he said is a viable alternative mode of transport for residents of Metro Manila.
The agency was given P176-million for the purchase of a four 50-seater air-conditioned ferry boats under the 2020 national budget to supplement the current fleet.
On the other hand, the NCCA, as of August this year, provided a one-time cash assistance of around P5,000 to around P10,000 artists who as freelance workers, did not receive regular compensation.
“Ang mga freelancers natin tulad ng mga artists ay talagang hirap na hirap na dahil no work, no pay sila (Our freelancers, like artists, are really having a hard time because of the policy of no work, no pay),” Angara pointed out.
“Wala silang mga projects sa panahon ng pandemiya kaya isa sila sa mga sektor na pinaka apektado. Kailangan natin maghanap ng paraan para sila ay matulungan (They do not have projects during this time of a pandemic that’s why they are one of the sectors who are really affected. We need to find ways to help them out),” he reiterated.
Apart from the banks of the Pasig River, the MMDA should also consider tapping the artists to paint over the walls of major thoroughfares such as EDSA.
“Ang dami natin magagaling na mga artists na nasasayang lang ang talento dahil sa pandemiya na ito (We have so many good artists and their talents would be put to waste becaue of this pandemic),” he pointed out.
“Gamitin natin ang mga willing na tumulong. Makakatulong na tayo sa mga naghihirap sa panahon na ito, mapapaganda pa natin ang ating kapaligiran (Let’s tap those who are willing to help the government. Not only can we help those who are in need during this time, it would also help us beautify our surroundings),” Angara said.