FDCP eyeing to give cash aid to 5,000 freelancers in audio-visual industry affected by COVID-19 crisis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — The Film Development Council of the Philippines or FDCP is targeting to give financial assistance to at least 5,000 audio-visual workers who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus shutdown, its head said Thursday.

Affected workers will be given ₱8,000, FDCP chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra told CNN Philippines New Day.

Diño-Seguerra said the aid is for displaced freelancers not covered by the social amelioration programs of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

She said based on their registry, there are about 50,000 workers in the audio-visual industry, but they can only give cash aid to select beneficiaries due to funding constraints.

“We prioritize what we consider as low income earners, or those who are earning ₱750 to ₱3,000 pesos a day or ₱20,000 pesos per project or less,” the official said.

She said around 800 freelancers have received financial assistance since they launched their cash assistance program two weeks ago.

The council has received a lot of applications for subsidy and is still accepting requests, she added.

Those interested to avail of the aid may visit this site.

On March 17, Presidente Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, ordering most, except for those rendering vital services, to stay at home.

Under the measure which aims to slow the spread of COVID-19, mass gatherings were prohibited. The lockdown was originally scheduled to last until April 12, but was extended until 11:59 p.m. of April 30.

Diño-Seguerra said the film industry was among "the first ones affected by the pandemic" because of the cancelled events, postponed production shoots, canceled cinema screenings.

She also expressed concern that when people return to "new normal," those from the entertainment industry "couldn’t even continue with work" because the government will still ask people to maintain physical distance.