The Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc. (MOWELFUND), inaugurated its new building, theater, and post-production, and other technical facilities at 66 Ilang-Ilang Street and Rosario Drive in Quezon City last July 28.
“Mahirap talaga masustain ang funding ng MOWELFUND dahil lumalaki ang membership, capitalization, and our expenses growing. So we thought of ways na maging sustainable. Now I can say na we can stand on our own. Hindi na kami masyadong manglilimos,” said Roa-Rodrigo during an interview with the press.
Roa-Rodrigo also said that MOWELFUND will continue with its current programming for sustainable funds.
MOWELFUND was founded in 1974 by former President Joseph Estrada to provide health and welfare benefits for thousands of the film industry’s marginalized film workers, who work mostly on a contractual basis and who have no access to regular employee benefits.
In 1979, the MOWELFUND Film Institute was established to provide subsidized film education benefits to MOWELFUND beneficiaries and the public.
Through the years, MOWELFUND had subsisted under the support of its institutional benefactor, the Metro Manila Film Festival, and solicitations from corporate and government entities and private individuals.
Outsourcing of funds sustained regular activities like medical, health, housing, training, and livelihood programs for members/beneficiaries and film workshops, film festivals, and other film education-based endeavors. Fundraisers, from the most traditional to the most creative to the “out-of-the-box” enterprises, became de rigueur to keep the Foundation afloat.
In 2012, a Board decision prodded MOWELFUND prime movers and stakeholders to maximize Foundation real property resources as a timely and definitive move toward sustainable development.
In 2018, after six years of due diligence and negotiations, the MOWELFUND Board signed a joint development contract with Victor Consunji Development Corporation (VCDC) that afforded the Foundation a new six-story building with modest, functional, and stylish interiors and appointments. Other building highlights include state-of-art production facilities and a 54-seat theater named after the late, revered Director of Photography (DOP) Conrado “Dengcar” Baltazar.
The new MOWELFUND Center is a monument to the efforts of its Board composed of Founding Chairman Joseph Estrada, Chairman Boots Anson Roa Rodrigo, Vice Chairman Gina Alajar, President Rez Cortez, Vice President Julius Topacio and Trustees Jaime “Jim” Baltazar and Direk Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao, and supported by management and staff to weather the 48 years of its existence amid strategies.
The MOWELFUND will celebrate its 50th year in 2024.