MMFF urged to release P8.8M amusement tax proceeds balance

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) on Wednesday filed a petition before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office urging the present committee of the Metropolitan Manila Film Festival (MMFF) to release the amusement tax proceeds balance amounting to almost P8.8 million from the festival's revenue from 2002 to 2008.

In a 13-page petition, lawyer Ariel Inton, legal counsel of FAP represented by Director General Leo Martinez seek the issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction to the Commission on Audit (COA) in its examination on the MMFF funds for the year 2002 to 2008.

The FAP has to assert its rights by virtue of section 2 of Executive Order 86-09 which states that all amusement taxes shall form part of the MMFF fund and shall be released to the designated beneficiaries after the deduction of all operations and incidental expenses of the MMFF, the petition read.


The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) states that the 50 percent of the proceeds will be allocated to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc. (Mowelfund), 20 percent to FAP, 20 percent to the Motion Picture Anti Film Piracy Council (MPFAPC), 5 percent to Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and 5 percent to the Optical Media Board (OMB).

The respondents in the petition were the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) MMFF Executive Committee, Chairman Francis Tolentino being the head of the MMFF Executive Committee and the National Cinema Association of the Philippines (NCAP).

According to the COA report on the MMFF funds from 2002 to 2008, the MMFF Executive Committee released more than P130 million to the beneficiaries or 60.40 percent of the total proceeds of more than P216 million.

The total balance amounts to P82,787,440.79.

The Fraud Audit and Investigation Office-Legal Service Sector of the COA also found out that the theater owners, proprietors or lessees delayed the remittance of the amusement taxes they collected by almost more than four years while the MMFF Executive Committee failed to enforce the MMC Executive Order which requires the theater owners to remit the taxes within 20 days after the last day of the festival.

“It is about time the MMDA return the management of the festival to the people of the film industry who has the expertise running the film fest to avoid this kind of monetary problems affecting the beneficiaries. Let us just leave the MMDA to control traffic,’’ Inton said.

Inton also said that the management of the festival should be turned over to the people of the movie industry since the MMDA only has jurisdiction of the movie houses in Metro Manila.

He insisted that the beneficiaries should have a share of the income of the theaters in areas outside Metro Manila saying that half of the total revenue were derived from provincial movie houses.

In 1975, the MMFF was organized to raise money and support the needs of the movie workers who are mostly members of the Mowelfund.

The Mowelfund used to manage the film fest until the Metro Manila Commission took over in 1986. (Sunnex)

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