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Malacañang questioned the guidelines released by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in regulating film and other audiovisual (AV) production shoots amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) raised concerns over some of the provisions in an administrative order issued jointly by the FDCP, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), particularly on the mandatory report on production shoots seven days before the shoot.

The DGPI also found the order’s coverage of platforms other than film, including television, advertising, animation, and other productions for online distribution, as “disturbing”.

Roque explained that statute and executive orders that created the FDCP do not give it regulatory powers, which means it should be the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Education (DepEd) in charge of sponsoring its guidelines.

Under Republic Act 9167, which created the FDCP, the trade and education secretaries, or their duly designated representatives, among others, are ex-officio members of the Council.

He said he started to raise questions about the guidelines after the FDCP requested the DOH to approve the filming of a TV series in Caramoan town in Camarines Sur.

“I had questions about the alleged guidelines, which they have issued to govern the resumption of work in the film industry, noting that the statute and executive orders that created the council did not give it regulatory powers,” Roque said.

He explained that the DTI and DepEd have overall supervision over the FDCP and should sponsor the guidelines on film and other AV production shoots.

“Therefore it should probably be the DTI or the Department of Education, believe it or not, because the statutory basis points to overall supervision by the Department of Education that should sponsor any guidelines that would govern the film industry under quarantine,” Roque said.

In a statement released last June 28, the DGPI protested and denounced the FDCP's "overreach into regulatory and oversight functions over productions."

The DGPI also urged DOLE, DOH, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and all other regulatory arms of government to consult industry stakeholders directly on deliberations on regulatory matters instead of through the FDCP, “which does not necessarily represent film workers or producers regarding their positions on regulatory matters.”

"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 (the) freedom of expression," the DGPI said.

Earlier, the FDCP issued the clarificatory guidelines on its joint administrative order, which require production companies to submit specific details of the planned production shoot, including the people participating at the production site.

FDCP chair Liza Diño defended the order, saying it intends to comply with the health and safety protocols needed to be adopted by the industry. 

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