THE Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) on Monday claimed that it has already disbursed the amusement tax collections allocated to the beneficiaries of the annual film festival.
MMFF spokesman Marichu Maceda said a total of P29.52 million were released from 2010 to 2012 to the five MMFF beneficiary-agencies, the subject of a second petition by the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP).
Citing the MMFF’s 2010-2012 Statement of Receipts and Disbursements, Maceda said P9.325 million was released to the beneficiaries in 2010; P9.7 million in 2011; and P10.500 million in 2012.
Under the November 22, 2010 directive of the Office of the President, the bulk of the amusement tax proceeds goes to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc. (Mowelfund), which gets 50 percent; FAP, 20 percent; Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council, 20 percent; Optical Media Board, five percent; and Film Development Council of the Philippines, five percent.
“We have the records to explain where the funds of the MMFF go, including the amusement tax allocations given to the beneficiaries. These documents speak for themselves, and clearly indicate there were no fund misuse as alleged by FAP,” Maceda stressed.
She pointed out that the MMFF-Executive Committee is mandated to allocate and remit to the designated beneficiaries the net proceeds of the amusement tax collections after deducting all its operational and incidental expenses.
MMFF derives its tax revenues from the amusement taxes waived and donated by the 17 Metro Manila local government units during the 10-day festival that runs from December 25 to January 3.
Based on the record, the MMFF 2010 earned a gross revenue of P540 million; P636.7 million in 2011; and P767 million in 2012.
Maceda said a huge chunk of the MMFF’s expenses goes to the prizes and awards, which totaled P10.7 million for the same three-year period.
She added that MMFF also helped in Typhoon Sendong and Typhoon Pablo stricken areas in Mindanao by building classrooms in the areas.
Maceda earlier maintained that all the funds of the MMFF, particularly the amusement tax collections, are intact and accounted for, and had been properly distributed to its intended beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the head of a non-government organization tapped by FAP Director General Leo Martinez, a holdover of the Arroyo administration, for an aborted movie awards project has surfaced and claimed the FAP chief is only after the “money” of the film festival.
In a letter to MMFF, Revor Lasay, national chairman of the Sectoral Anti-Poverty Movement (SAP), alleged that Martinez contracted him in July 2011 to revive his “Doon Po Sa Amin” film awards project which was disapproved for funding by the Office of the President.
“I felt the issue here is not really the welfare of the movie workers as he proudly claimed but plainly money, money, and the huge amount of money from the record-breaking earnings of the 39th film fest,” Lasay said in his letter, referring to Martinez.
In a four-page narration he attached to his letter, Lasay claimed he and his “Doon Po Sa Amin” project management team were not duly paid by FAP for their work and their expenses were not reimbursed as promised by Martinez.
It was only on October 28, 2011 that one of the members of FAP Board of Governors informed Lasay that not all members of the Board of Governors were aware of the release of FAP funds for the project because only Martinez and the treasurer has access to FAP’s bank accounts.
“If the releases of funds for the DPSA [Doon Po Sa Amin] team were allegedly not approved by the Board of Governors of FAP and that only Mr. Martinez [who was appointed FAP head due to his closeness with a top official of the previous administration]and the treasurer has access to FAP’s bank accounts, I believe, the funds should be returned to FAP and they [Martinez and the treasurer] should be held liable on the alleged habitual and series of bank withdrawals/fund releases without the knowledge and approval of the FAP’s Board of Governors,” Lasay said.