Senator Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla pushed Tuesday for incentives for foreign filmmakers doing location shooting in the Philippines, especially with a big Hollywood movie project looming.
At the 2024 budget hearing of the Department of Tourism, Padilla said the Philippines must not waste the opportunity of the movie “Epic Proposal” that he said has a budget of $40 million.
“Meron tayong kausap na Korean production na pupunta dito… Kausap namin sila ito i-shoot sana sa Pilipinas at mga bida nila mga sikat na actor (We are talking to a Korean production that will come here. They want to shoot in the Philippines. The movie has famous actors),” he said, noting the actors include Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Gemma Chan (“Crazy Rich Asians.”)
“Na-inspire uli ang writer at producer dahil nakapunta sila sa magandang lugar sa Pilipinas. Nais nila makapag-shooting dito at ipakita ang magagandang lugar na nakita nila. Ang hinihingi nila sana sa ating gobyerno mabigyan sila ng ganitong klaseng rebate (The writer and producer were inspired by the beautiful sights of the Philippines, and want to shoot here so they can feature our attractions. They are asking that the government give them a rebate),” he said.
He said author Kevin Kwan and screenwriter Aaron Goldberg want to feature the beauty of the Philippines and the “warmth and spirit” of the Filipino people after visiting Palwan in 2017.
If the project pushes through in the Philippines, he said local businesses in the provinces where the location shootings will take place will benefit greatly, while the Philippines will get publicity from the actors who will post about the attractions on their social media accounts.
Padilla said he is ready to coordinate with the DOT on this. “Handa akong i-present sa inyo para magkaroon ng bagong ekonomiya sa larangan ng film production at naniniwala akong napakalaking hudyat nito pagtulak sa ating turismo mabuksan uli (I am ready to present this to you so the film production industry as well as tourism will be revitalized),” he said.
Padilla noted the Philippines’ neighbors in Southeast Asia like Thailand already provide such incentives such as cash rebates for film producers who will do location shoots.
He said it is sad that “The Beach” (2000) was based on the writer’s inspiration from the beauty of Palawan, as it was filmed in Thailand because the Philippines had no such incentive.
Meanwhile, Padilla pushed for the promotion by the DOT of beaches in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu, which he said are now “terrorist-free”.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco replied they want to revitalize film tourism in the Philippines, and are coordinating with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) for this.