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Yangot hopeful busking ordinance to gain traction

INVASION. Cosplayers use the area for chalk arts to perform recently that led visual artist Majic Asbucan of Gripo Comics fame to ask help from the organizers to have an orderly conduct of street performances at the city’s most famous street. The busking ordinance proponent, councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr., wants a “locals first” policy that would police out of towners who come up to the city on Sunday, perform, earn and leave on the same day. Photo from the Facebook Page of Majic Asbucan

Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. is optimistic that his proposed busking ordinance will be approved by his colleagues at the city council and for Mayor Benjamin Magalong to have a change of heart and support the measure that will put order in street performances on Sundays at Session Road.

“The mayor was not properly informed and so he opposed it when interviewed,” claimed Yangot after the consultation at the Botanical Garden last Thursday on the integration of creative spaces into the city’s urban plans.

Yangot said the mayor thought the  buskers or street performers have to pay the weekly charge of PhP350 leading him to oppose the proposed ordinance and calling it not timely as the city is yet recovering from the effects of the coronavirus (Covid – 19) pandemic.

“It is not the right time,” said Magalong recently adding that its approval could wait since: “We are in recovery stage (from the Covid-19 pandemic). (We have to) support these (buskers), the vendors, the merchants.”

He added that the “objective of imposing fees is to generate funds. Mabigat (stiff) for those recovering, it is not the right time.”

Yangot reiterated that the fee is for a year which is barely seven pesos a week and less than PhP30 a month.

He said that there is a need to control the entry of street performers because “even out of towners come here and perform and earn.”

“Let us home grown artists first or locals first,” said Yangot, who added that there are many buskers, mostly cosplayers (costume player portraying mostly famous Japanese anime characters) who come up on Sunday and take advantage of an open Session road to perform and leave at the end of the day for home.

“That is why some of the artists, mostly chalk artists, are deprived of their spaces which is invaded by the out of towner performers,” said Yangot, who took note of local visual artist Majic Asbucan who was mad when the area supposedly for chalk artists was taken over by cosplayer the other Sunday.

In his Facebook post, Asbucan wrote: “The space that is supposed to be for chalk arts was already written by mendicant cosplayer. We need to litigate this.”

The Yangot proposed ordinance will see the creation of a Street Performance Committee that is composed of the City Mayor as the Chairperson, the City Administrator as Co-Chairperson and the City Treasurer, Head of the Permits and Licensing Division, City Tourism Operations Officer, Chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks and Playgrounds and two representatives from the accredited musician street performer’s groups in the city.

Yangot said that street performance or busking, the act of performing in public places for gratuities and that the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drinks or gifts may be given, shall be allowed only after a permit is issued to buskers.

The ordinance states that a special busing permit is issued by the PLD once an applicant has completed an application and paid the PhP350 fee. Said fee being at the discretion of the City Mayor and subject to change.

An applicant must fill the application form that includes the applicant’s name, residence, address and telephone number, and shall be signed by the applicant. Once approved, the permit has a validity period of one year and shall be non-transferrable.

A permit may be issued for a group performance of up to a maximum of three members, while a bigger number requires a special permit.

The performer then is told of the regulations set by the city. In cases of loss of permit, a replacement can be obtained from the city with a similar amount as fee.

The performer may then clearly display his or her permit while performing, the proposed ordinance added. Pigeon Lobien

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