By Azer Parrocha

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (left) and Presidential Adviser for Creative Communications and filmmaker Paul Soriano (right) (Photo from Paul Soriano’s Twitter)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants to provide artists with more scholarships and infrastructure to develop and support the country’s cultural and creative industries, Presidential Adviser for Creative Communications and filmmaker Paul Soriano said Monday.

Soriano said it is important to help artists in all disciplines, especially those who were just starting their careers.

“The President has told me he wants to bring back the scholarships, the grants. He wants to be able to build more cultural infrastructure to help our artists. He was talking about creating communities, villages so that people can really create,” he said in a press conference at the Winford Hotel Ballroom in Manila.

Although he did not give specific plans under his office, Soriano said he is currently learning his way around the bureaucracy and will “aggressively” start executing these plans by January next year.

“I asked for some time to set up and to study so that I could creatively communicate what’s in the heart of the President and he has told me many times it’s really the creative industries,” he said.

Soriano underscored the importance of “inter-agency executions” with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in efforts to strengthen the cultural and creative industries in the country.

“I really believe you cannot have one agency that’s just going to change everything. We plan to do a lot of inter-agency executions where I can work with FDCP, NCCA, museums and just breathe some life and ideas,” he added.

He clarified that he was not appointed as adviser to give orders, but to listen and suggest ideas.

“I am not coming into this government and mandating things or telling people what to do. I’m more of a listener and to suggest ideas. And my own office can create also my own programs and there are some things I’ll be executing from my office next year,” he said.

“It does not mean I’m going to be in charge of that, no. I really believe in teamwork. We’ll are in one team to bring a Renaissance to the arts and culture of our great country. It’s to work together with them. Maybe the best way to say it is if you have a creative agency,” he added.

According to Soriano, having new voices in the government could contribute to making the cultural and creative industries “even greater.

“Maybe that’s who I am. I’m that new voice maybe that can help existing agencies. I’m not going to mandate this and that, I’m there to help, listen, and maybe give ideas,” he added.

He also said he has already met with select government agencies such as the Departments of Tourism, Migrant Workers, and the Interior and Local Government to work out ways to “creatively communicate” the administration’s projects and programs.

“Hopefully I can make a little difference. With your support, we can all do this together. I think it’s really to come up with one clear messaging. One of the mandates also that I’m doing is to at least synergize the message. Come up with some country branding,” he said.

Polarizing industry

Soriano acknowledged that he may have made some disagreements with fellow artists in the creative industry, but expressed hope that they can set aside their differences to cooperate for the betterment of the country.

“We may disagree on a lot of things, but if we can agree on making the creative industry even greater then let’s do that together. It’s been very polarizing but I choose to see the creativity in them rather than the other side. I want to reach out to my fellow creative people, let’s work together,” he said.

He said he will “extend his hand” to critics of him and his wife, actress Toni Gonzaga, because he respects their opinions.

“At the end of the day, if we can support our President, it just means our country will be better. If we keep focusing too much on what was yesterday or what was years ago, we could lose this opportunity,” he added. (PNA)