By Elijah Felice Rosales, April 4 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

THE Philippines has set its sights on becoming the leading creative economy in Southeast Asia by 2030 on the back of strong advertising, film, animation, game development and design industries.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement that the draft creative economy road map is now on its table. The draft was submitted by the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) last week to gather more inputs before it is approved and implemented.

The transmission of the document, the DTI said, is an offshoot of the memorandum of understanding signed last year by the agency with the CECP, National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the British Council.

In his meeting with CECP officials, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo asked industry players to define what the creative economy is in Philippine context. He also suggested that CECP short list five industries the government has to focus on to make action plans targeted and objectives feasible.

Responding to Rodolfo, CECP President Paolo A. Mercado identified advertising, film, animation, game development and design, particularly graphic and digital designs, as the priorities in need of specific action plans.

Under the draft road map, the Philippines is envisioned to become the leading creative economy among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member-states by 2030. The road map covers six cultural domains, namely, cultural and natural heritage; performance and celebration; visual arts and artisan products; books and press; broadcast and interactive media; and creative services.

“By 2030 the Philippines will be the number one creative economy in Asean in terms of size and value of our creative industries, as well as the competitiveness and attractiveness of our creative talent and content in international markets,” the draft road map read.

The Philippines exported $915.45 million worth of creative goods in 2014, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Unctad figures indicated this was nearly 18 percent higher than the $775.83 million shipped by the Philippines in 2005.

“Design goods accounted for the largest share of exports, with fashion goods at $279 million, interior design at $221 million and toys and jewelry combined at $116 million for 2014,” the Unctad said in a report, titled “Creative Economy Outlook: Trends in International Trade in Creative Industries.”

In 2014 the United States was the top destination for Philippine creative goods exports with $472.56 million, followed by Japan with $136.03 million, China with $38.45 million, Italy with $30.73 million and Germany with $22.56 million. Manila accumulated a trade deficit of $245.79 million with Beijing, while maintaining a trade surplus with Washington, Tokyo, Rome and Berlin, according to the Unctad report.

To strengthen its trade sheet, CECP put forward in the road map the issuance of an executive order declaring the creative economy as a national priority, as well as the passage of a measure establishing an agency tasked to handle creative industries.

Further, CECP recommended mapping priority creative industries for accelerated growth in domestic and international markets; providing incentives for developers of creative hubs and clusters as places for incubation, production, education, and research and development; and pushing for creative cities development and recognition. The group also insisted on promoting new models of creative tourism aimed at enhancing the country’s global image.

According to the DTI, the road map is seen to develop the country’s creative industries, particularly its high-value services that provide significant contribution to the GDP, such as in tourism, information technology and business-process management, among others.

The DTI views the creative economy road map as crucial to the country’s transition to digitization. The creative economy, the agency added, is an important source of trade and investment opportunities, which bolsters the business activities of micro, small and medium enterprises.

In a step toward the approval of the road map, a technical working group will be formed to include the Departments of Tourism, of Education, Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).