The Cultural Center of the Philippines through its Vice-President and Artistic Director Chris Millado announced Thursday via Zoom teleconference all live concerts, ballet presentations, theater seasons and other previously planned shows will have to be cancelled this year.
Cancelled were the ongoing seasons of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the dance season of Ballet Philippines, the theater season of Tanghalang Pilipino and other resident companies of the CCP.
Also cancelled was the 2020 edition of Cinemalaya and the region-wide outreach programs.
“This will allow us to find new ways of helping the performing artists by realigning certain programs while quarantine restrictions are not yet lifted,” said Millado.
The CCP artistic director also revealed there were a total of 800 events cancelled, more than 3000 performing artists affected with the loss of 800,000 expected audiences and loss of P90 million in revenues.
As a result, the yearly CCP allotment of P350 million suffered 45 percent cut in all its budget items. “Like the P115 million for productions now down to P50 million,” Millado said.
Likely to be affected are the operations and venue grants of other resident companies like the Philippine Ballet Theater, the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA), the Philippine Madrigal Singers, UST Symphony Orchestra and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, among others.
The CCP also provides institutional support to the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and the Philippine High School for the Arts in Los Banos, Laguna.
Also present in the Zoom teleconference was CCP chair Margie Moran Floirendo who clarified certain issues related to the reported “sale” of CCP as frequently mentioned in President Duterte’s midnight television appearances.
The CCP chair said the board was supposed to come out with a position paper on the proposed sale. “But when we heard from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that there was no need to sell the CCP, we held the position paper in abeyance.”
Meanwhile, the proposed sale of the CCP to raise more funds for corona virus budget drew widespread anger among netizens.
Arts writer Alma Cruz Miclat said the CCP represents the soul of a nation. “Woe to us and the next generation if we lose our soul,” she posted on FB.
Former NCCA officer Felipe Mendoza de Leon commented: “It is clear the President does not know what he is saying. It shows his education does not go beyond his many years as mayor of Davao City. Selling the CCP is like selling Quiapo Church. It’s like losing our soul to big business.”
Switzerland-based Filipino pianist Charisse Dumlao said it would be a catastrophe if the CCP ends up as another public property for disposal.
Tenor Arthur Espiritu — who sang the well-received role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the CCP early this year — posted on FB: “It would be a great tragedy if the CCP ends up as another mall.”
Meanwhile, Millado said that during the transition, the CCP will do more video streaming of archival recordings and work on partnership with network with cultural platforms while realigning cultural missions with emphasis on arts as therapy. “We are working on arrangements where CCP subsidized musicians can perform for patients recovering from Covid-19. I think we should be ready to look at the new normal in the field of the arts,” Millado added.
He also noted the proliferation of various live streaming of all types of music and for all types of audiences. “That shows that we need not listen to music in conventional venues. The response was such we begin to realize we can in fact enjoy concerts outside the conventional venues. Of course, there is nothing like a live concert with live audiences. But the situation being what it is now, we should be ready for the new normal in music appreciation.”
The mass cancellations of shows because of Covid-19 is the first time it happened in the CCP’s 50-year history.
The announcement of the cancellation was met with a measure of sadness by the performing arts community.
Ballet Philippines ballerina Denise Parungao posted on FB: “This global situation is driving me nuts. But I love seeing how art can keep us together and offer us mental escape. As the saying goes ‘forget your troubles’ and dance at home please!”