Cinema industry loses ₱21-B due to pandemic, says industry group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 11) — The cinema industry has lost some ₱21 billion since the closure of movie houses in March last year due to the pandemic, an industry group said.

“Parte lang po yung mga sinehan. Kasi kapag bumibili po tayo ng mga ticket, mahigit kalahati nito ay napupunta sa producer ng pelikula at siyempre may binabayaran tayong mga buwis sa gobyerno at sa LGU (local government unit),” said Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) president Charmaine Bauzon during the Laging Handa briefing.

[Translation: The cinemas are just part of this. Whenever you buy tickets, more than half goes to the film producer and we also pay some taxes to the national government and to the LGU.]

Bauzon also noted that over 300,000 industry workers lost job their jobs. Among them are cinema employees, actors, production staff, and workers of related businesses.

“Ang malaki po nito, yung 150,000 na estimate, yung mga gumagawa ng pelikula, ito yung mga artista, direktor, ito yung production crew behind po sa paggawa ng pelikula. At the same time, malaki rin po ang naapektuhan, mga 136,000 yung nagdi-distribute nitong mga nagawang pelikula,” she said.

[Translation: A big part of this were an estimated 150,000 workers, such as the actors, director, and the production crew who are working behind the scenes of the movie. At the same time, 136,000 distributors were also affected.]

“Mga about 43,000 na apektado na rin, yung mga suppliers at pa rin mga establisyemento na umaasa sa mga sinehan, mga food establishments sa tabi ng sinehan natin.”

[Translation: About 43,000 suppliers and workers from establishments triving on cinemas, such as food establishments, were also affected.]

Bauzon said they have come up with some proposed safety measures if ever cinemas will be allowed to reopen in the country. Aside from the standard health protocols, CEAP is also proposing a one-seat apart rule and no eating will be allowed inside cinemas.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion was earlier pushing to downgrade the alert level status in Metro Manila as the country sees a downward trend in COVID-19 cases. Downgrading Metro Manila to Alert Level 3 or 2 would allow more businesses, including cinemas, to reopen at limited capacity, he added.

Metro Manila is currently at Alert Level 4 until October 15.

CEAP assured that the reopening of cinemas will not cause superspreader events, noting that theaters have high ceilings which would allow proper ventilation.

“Yung pagiging safe po ng ating sinehan, ang isang patunay po diyan na ang ating mismong mga sinehan ay ginagamit na vaccination sites,” said Bauzon.

[Translation: One proof that our cinemas are safe is that they are being used as vaccination sites.]

“Wala pa pong na-record ni isa, kahit sa anumang lugar na nagbukas na ng sinehan, na nagkaroon ng transmission ng COVID-19,” she added.

[Translation: There was no record yet that there was COVID-19 transmission in cinemas in other countries.]