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The creative economy

Tokyo-based Asian Development Bank Institute, the multilateral lender’s think tank, urged the Philippines to come up with a comprehensive policy framework that would allow the creative economy to recover from the pandemic and contribute to sustainable development.

ADBI said supporting creative industries would not only boost income and job creation and expand value chains, but also aid in achieving sustainable development. It adds that in the ASEAN region, the Philippines, alongside Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, has been promoting trade in creative goods and services over the past years.

That progress has been impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in job and income losses.

“In the Philippines, a huge segment of the industry relies on freelancers who are estimated up to four times as many as those in the formal sector, but are unaccounted for, making it more difficult to assist them during the pandemic,” ADBI said.

The country’s creative economy shares as much as seven percent of the country’s overall economic output. It produces an estimated $3.2 billion in creative services, consisting mainly of software and information technology services, animation, game development, digital marketing and design services.

However, there is no creative economy center or government agency in the country focused solely on it.

There is a proposed Creative Industries Development Act that seeks to form a council to implement a plan to encourage the growth of the creative industries, covering audio and audiovisual media, creative services, cultural sites, design, digital interactive media, performing arts, print and publishing, traditional cultural expressions and visual arts.

Offering large potential for socioeconomic growth, ADBI argued that comprehensive policy responses for the creative economy need to be in place to assist its recovery and assure its resilience and sustainability, both in normal and extraordinary circumstances. It also suggested that technology be maximized, while emphasizing that creative talents cannot be replaced by automation.

As a sector that has long been ignored, the creative economy was overdue for inclusion into policy frameworks that could maximize growth and sustainability while protecting its players who are mostly productive but highly vulnerable freelance workers who produce work for developed economies that value their output. Now that the pandemic highlighted has shone a spotlight on that need, it is time for government and the creative sector to work together and come up with a creatively elegant solution to their plight.*

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