Budget Watch

NCCA seeks more funding in 2022

A National Commission for Culture and the Arts official also tells senators that they have yet to receive their share in the 2021 travel tax collections

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has appealed to senators to help the agency get more funding in 2022 after the Department of Budget and Management approved only P29.38 million of its proposed P168.78-million budget for next year.

NCCA Deputy Director Marichu Tellano urged the Senate finance committee to help the agency to regain the P125 million that the DBM had slashed from its original proposed budget.

The DBM sets a cap on the budget proposals of agencies depending on their absorptive capacity or their ability to fully spend their annual funds.

The requested amount will fund the following in 2022:

  • P60 million: Maintenance, operation, and continued conservation of the Metropolitan Theater
  • P50 million: Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale
  • P5 million: Likha-an Resource Center 
  • P10 million: Implementation of Sentro Rizal

The NCCA official also urged the Senate to restore P67.8 million from its National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (NEFCA), an exclusive fund for culture and arts programs, to help fund its programs next year.

The amount the NCCA is seeking to be restored from NEFCA is supposed to fund the implementation of the Cultural Response and Resiliency Plan (P55 million) and the the implementation of the Heritage Law and the National Museum Law, for functions transferred to the NCCA (P12.8 million).

The NEFCA and the General Appropriations Act (GAA) are the NCCA’s funding sources.

Senator Pia Cayetano, who presided over the budget hearing as vice chair of the Senate finance panel, vowed to boost the NCCA’s budget once deliberated before the plenary for debates and amendments. 

“It has always been my goal to not just cure your budget but to try to increase it in ways that you, your agencies, will be able to touch more lives – that your impact on the lives of Filipinos and your interaction with other sectors of community are felt so that it’s not an isolated sector that some people think it is,” Cayetano said. 

Unreleased travel tax shares

In the same hearing, Tellano noted that the NCCA has not received its shares from the travel tax collections in 2021, which comprise 10% of their NEFCA, due to the pandemic, and expressed concern that the same may happen in 2022.

“Ten percent of our NEFCA is really coming from the travel tax, and because of the pandemic, we didn’t have that collection. So for 2021, and I guess for 2022, we will be in the same situation,” the NCCA deputy director said.

“We have not been receiving our share from the travel tax because I think there’s no travel tax collection for 2020, and I don’t think there will be a collection for 2021,” she added.

Senator Nancy Binay then said that Senate finance committee should get a clarification or computation for this year because the NCCA should have received travel tax revenues, even if the amount would be lower.

“I would assume na kahit papano kahit konti may makuha kayong share from the travel tax kasi meron namang bumabiyahe eh, so kahit papano dapat may makuha pa din kayo,” Binay said. 

(I would assume that at least you can get a small share from the travel tax because there are people traveling, so you should still get something.)

Cayetano said she would work on Binay’s recommendation for clarification.

“You’re totally right, Senator Nancy, that their share is low, but still there is. So we should try to give them whatever is due under the law,” said Cayetano in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com

Jacq Martinez, a Rappler intern, is a third year journalism student at the University of Santo Tomas. This article was reviewed by a Rappler reporter and an editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.