A multi-awarded singer and composer on Wednesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to effect a temporary ban on foreign acts and shows, except cultural exchange programs, to give local artists a fighting chance to resuscitate the country’s ailing music industry.
Anthony Castelo, former Quezon City Councilor District 4 and now president of the Dakilang Lahi Foundation composed of local artists, coursed his proposal through folk icon and international performer Freddie Aguilar, recently named by Duterte as Presidential Adviser on Culture and the Arts.
“Major acts like that of James Taylor, Madonna, Barry Manilow and others cause a huge dollar drain to the country. Imposing a temporary ban on these performances will give an opportunity for our own local artists to regain supremacy in their own country where they have been drowned and dwarfed by imported acts,” he said on Wednesday.
Castelo made the call in the aftermath of Taylor’s decision to cancel his pre-secheduled show as the American singer criticized Duterte’s war on drugs.
The former councilor described the American singer’s remarks as “irresponsible.”
“James Taylor’s remarks against the war on illegal drugs were irresponsible. This incident behooves us to rethink our policy on allowing foreign artists to lord over our equally, if not better talented, local artists,” he said.
Aguilar, according to Castelo, may move to “protect our artistic and cultural heritage from assault by excessive proliferation of foreign culture through live shows, radio, television and films in our country.”
“This continuing cultural and economic attrition on our country has a direct powerful negative effect on the Filipino psyche, attitude and behavior,” he said.
Proof of this, Castelo noted, was the fact that the public had shown passivity and “numbness” to such attacks when Madonna “dishonored” the country’s flag in her previous performance.
Taylor, on the other hand, should have been more discerning and circumspect in attacking the war on drugs as it is something he was “not fully aware of.”
These artists, Castelo said, should not be welcomed in the Philippines. JING VILLAMENTE