|CONGRESSMAN ALFRED VARGAS of Quezon City with President Aquino, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and others in Malacanang.aption
By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES
QUEZON CITY (PHLTODAYUSA) – The first time he ran for congressman in the newly created fifth district of Quezon City, actor and then city councilor Alfredo D. Vargas III was pitted against veterans.
In that election, Vargas, now 36, was pitted against former Congresswoman Annie Susano and ex-congressman Dante Liban.
Susano belongs to a wealthy clan whose vast properties and businesses are spread in the district and other parts of Quezon City. Liban, on the other hand, is a lawyer who once dominated the district as former councillor and later as congressman.
Vargas prevailed in that election, earning for him the monicker as a “giant killer.”
Now, in his re-election attempt for the 2016 elections, the handsome actor-congressman will have exactly a different story. This as he is running unopposed because Susano has left the district and is running instead as congresswoman in the fifth district of Manila under the team of reelectionist Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Susano could have a hard time in Manila, however, as her new district is dominated by Rep. Amado Bagatsing, who is running for mayor against Estrada, and whose daughter, Crystal, is running for congresswoman.
Not only that, Rep. Jose Atienza Jr., a three-term mayor of Manila, has allied with Bagatsing in the district as his son, Alejandro Atienza, is Bagatsing’s runningmate for vice mayor. The fifth district is also the bailiwick of the Atienzas where Susano is a virtual stranger even as Estrada’s popularity has waned due to alleged corruption and abuses in City Hall.
Liban, on the other hand, is running for senator.
Vargas is thankful to the residents of his district for their support, without which he could not have succeeded.
By way of returning the favour from his constituents, Vargas performed strongly in the House of Representatives, filing bills and resolutions, many of which would help his district.
Vargas has also filed bills to support the movie industry to which he is a part.
Alfred was the first to file his certificate of candidacy for the fifth district of Quezon City. Until the last day of week-long filing of CoCs, no one came forward to contest his seat.
With that, he needed only one vote in the 2016 elections to formalize his reelection victory, said his showbiz manager Lolit Solis..
Solis has good words to his ward. “Never siyang naging pasaway at kung mayroon man di pagkakaunawaan, we thresh it out bago lumubog ang araw,” she said.
“ Iyang si Alfred ay isang taong ayaw matulog na may negatibong bagay sa kanyang isipan. He wants to welcome a new day with a big smile,” Lolit added.
Vargas, who is a businessman and civic leader, is well prepared for his career. Unlike other celebrities in politics, he has an AB Management Economics degree from the Ateneo de Manila University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines.
His local bills and resolutions for Quezon City include those seeking the upgrading of the Novaliches District Hospital in Barangay San Bartolome, setting up of mass transportation in Novaliches, establishing national high schools in Barangays Nagkaisahan Nayon and Gulod in the district, and establishing a super health centeer and lying in clinic in Barangay Sta. Monica also in the district.
The actor-solon has been pushing more incentives for the Filipino movie industry in the House of Representatives.
One of his bills seeks to expand support to the local film industry by supporting the production of Philippine independent films through grants and incentives to filmmakers who are given honors in notable international film competitions.
Congressman Vargas said House Bill 6187 seeks to motivate Filipino producers and directors to make quality independent films by providing grants and full tax exemption to award-winning indie movies.
Independent films or alternative cinemas are defined as those made without the capitalization, machinery and influence found in major films studios.
This form of filmmaking, which includes short films, documentaries, experimental or avant-garde films, and the like are usually outside the confines of commercial moviemaking, Vargas said.
Vargas said in the Philippines, alternative cinema production is on the rise with 84 percent of locally made movies every year consisting of indie films.
“However, challenges remain. One particular obstacle is the lack of funds for marketing. As such, most indie films rarely become box office hits,” Vargas stressed.
Under the measure to be known as the “Philippine Independent Film Incentives Act of 2015,” Philippine independent films that have been awarded the Best Film prize or its equivalent including those that merited recognition for technical excellence in respected international film competitions of cinema festivals shall be granted P5,000,000 for the film production or entity that produces the award including full-length feature or documentary film.
A grant of P3,000,000 shall be given to the film production or entity that produces the award-wining short feature or documentary film.
Also, a full tax exemption relevant to the screening of the film and its commercial-exhibition, including those levied by local-government film shall be granted.
Furthermore, the award-winning film shall be considered and shall have the honor of being given an automatic rating of an “A” film being granted by the Cinema Evaluation Board.
To be eligible for a grant under the full-length category, films must be made by Filipino filmmakers who have not yet directed more than three full-length commercial feature films.
The total production budget for the full-length feature or documentary film should not exceed P3,000,000 and the film length should be between 90 to 120 minutes.
On the other hand, short-feature or documentary film must be made by a Filipino filmmaker and the total production budget should not exceed P1,000,000. The film length shall not be more than 20-minutes (no minimum length).
The bill directs the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) to adopt a system in implementing and carrying out the provisions of this Act.
A special fund is created amounting to P50,000,000 that shall be sourced from the funds of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“To further empower the Philippine movie industry, the passage of this proposed legislation is earnestly sought,” Vargas pointed out.
In pushing for the passage of the bill, Vargas cited the policy of the State to promote and support the development and growth of the local film industry, in general, and the production of independent films, in particular.
Vargas said the State should endeavor to discover, encourage and honor the cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.