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'Slippery slope': PH directors' guild rejects new FDCP guidelines for shoots

The Directors' Guild of the Philippines (DGPI) on Monday, June 29, slammed the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) over its latest administrative order, calling it an "additional agency intrusion on productions."

Over the weekend, the FDCP released Advisory 6 or the "Clarificatory Guidelines on the FDCP-DOH-DOLE Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-001 on the Health and Safety Protocols on the Conduct of Film and AV Production Shoots." According to the new order, production companies must register their scheduled production with the FDCP and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The advisory also covers advertising content production, live productions, and television.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, DGPI said that had expressed in an earlier meeting with the FDCP concerns over the proposed regulations.

"Weeks ago, in one particular Zoom conference with the Inter-Guild Alliance (IGA) and FDCP, the DGPI already raised this concern and opposed any regulatory intrusion," the guild said.

"Yet the release of this advisory underlines a disturbing turn of events about the mandate of FDCP," the DGPI said, as they pointed out that the advisory extends the FDCP's mandate to beyond film.

The DGPI said that while it lauds the FDCP for its programs and achievements, "the group protests and denounces its overreach into regulatory and oversight functions over productions."

The DGPI also urged the FDCP, DOLE, and other government agencies to consult stakeholders — such as the movie workers themselves — before coming out with orders.

"If there are any deliberation on regulatory matters and directives being contemplated for the film industry, we call on you to consult stakeholders (actors, producers, etc) instead of through FDCP, which does not necessarily represent film workers or producers regarding their position on regulatory matters," the guild said.

"As the film industry struggles to get back on its feet, the DGPI reiterates that it opposes any form of additional agency intrusion on productions. Not during a pandemic. Not ever. The slippery slope from 'reporting' to 'monitoring' to 'controlling' is steep and dangerous to freedom of expression. The DGPI says NO to FDCP Advisory 06."

The FDCP has not yet replied to the DGPI's statement.

This isn't the first time the FDCP has had clashes with leaders in the film industry over post-lockdown regulations. In May, members of the Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association (PMPPA) questioned the draft guidelines on film and audiovisual production safety protocols, which the FDCP issued. (READ: Shorter shoots, less films out: PH film industry mull future post-lockdown)

The film and audiovisual industry, like most industries, stopped abruptly in mid-March 2020 when the entire Luzon was placed under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Other parts of the Philippines were later placed in lockdowns as well.

Metro Manila has since been placed under "general community quarantine," which allows most industries to resume work, provided they follow health and safety protocols spelled out by the government. – Rappler.com