Film body urges production firms to prioritize workers’ safety

FDCP chairperson, Undersecretary Liza Diño-Seguerra. (Screengrab from Laging Handa briefing)

MANILA – Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño-Seguerra on Tuesday asked production outfits to prioritize safety and observance protocols, following reports that some production workers have contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at work.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Diño-Seguerra bared that the most recent report she has received was that there were 18 workers in one production who contracted the virus.

“There are many (production companies) that employ very strict protocols — conducting PCR tests — but there are those that need to revisit their safety protocols,” she said.

Diño-Seguerra also mentioned that affected workers do not get compensated, as they have to undergo 14-day quarantine, for instance.

She said the FDCP has provided assistance to workers in the film industry through its Disaster Emergency Assistance and Relief (DEAR) program at the start of the pandemic.

The program has provided PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to every qualified worker.

Regarding workers’ compensation, she noted that the passage of House Bill 7762 or the proposed ‘Eddie Garcia Act’ would bring a major change in the entire creative industry.

“Because this would provide them (workers) the benefits. Their contracts would contain how much they are supposed to get as salary, how long should they work, among others. Because right now, these details are being provided informally, and some workers work up to 36 hours in production,” she said.

The bill institutes measures to protect the rights of workers in the creative industry and was named after the late actor Eddie Garcia who fell into a coma and passed away in June last year due to an accident in a taping of a television series.

She said about 30 percent of production companies already resumed work, and about 480 sent a request for assistance to the FDCP as to how they would do the production accordingly.

Box office revenue has been severely affected, as most cinemas are either closed or at limited operations amid the health crisis.

MMFF digital screening

Meanwhile, Diño-Seguerra invited families to still enjoy Christmas and watch the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) legally via the digital platform, UPSTREAM.

“Digital screening is very new to the industry, and we already have local streaming platforms. For the MMFF, all you need to do is go to (the website),,” she said.

Globe and GMovies recently teamed up with the MMFF and UPSTREAM to showcase the nominated films online.

She acknowledged the need to look for different platforms to showcase the creative works but reiterated her hopes to prioritize safety in production. (PNA)

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