For PH to produce next BTS, allow foreign ownership of media: economists

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2021 08:52 PM

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BTS performs during the 49th Annual American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 21, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

MANILA - If the Philippines wants to produce the next BTS, the country must allow foreigners to invest in and own mass media, two economists said on Wednesday. 

Bernardo Villegas, founder and research director of policy think tank Center for Research and Communication said he believes that “person for person, Filipinos are more creative than practically every Asian country including South Korea.” 

“We have the individuals. but if you take a look at why BTS for example is right now conquering the world. It is not because individually they are more talented. There are thousands of Filipinos who can do better than those members of BTS,” Villegas said during the Arangkada Philippines Forum 2021 hosted by the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines. 

Calixto Chikiamco, president of the Foundation for Economic Freedom also noted that BTS has foreign capital behind its management company. 

“They accept foreign capital,” Chikiamco said. 

Villegas, who was one of the framers of the 1986 Constitution, admitted he feels partly responsible for keeping foreign investors out of the Philippines. But he said the Constitution has to be amended to allow more foreign investment. 

But Villegas noted that South Korea’s success in exporting K-pop and other entertainment was also the result of its government’s support.

“They organize talent camps, they train thousands of people, etc. So that they are able to compete in the global market. This is where we really have to have a government that is convinced about their role in technology and investment and so forth,” Villegas said. 

The CRC economist said he was “very optimistic” about the creative industries of the Philippines as long as the state will give the same support as the Korean government is giving to this sector.” 

Cikiamco said the Philippines can’t realize the potential of the creative industries unless it removes the foreign ownership restrictions in mass media. 

BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment held an initial public offering in October 2020, making all seven BTS members millionaires, while making their producer a certified billionaire in US dollars.

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