MANILA — The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) on Monday opposed a proposal to to make actors undergo mandatory drug testing, calling the measure “greatly discriminatory.”
The film agency’s chairperson Tirso Cruz III, who is also a screen veteran, made the statement after a congressman proposed that drug testing should be required for actors before they are cast professionally in a project.
“The fight against trafficking and use of illegal drugs should be everyone’s concern as law-abiding citizens of the country. We find it greatly discriminatory, however, that actors and performers from the entertainment industry are being singled out for drug testing,” Cruz said in a statement.
“Worse, there is a strong move making producers shoulder the extra cost for all performers’ drug tests. This is outright unfair and burdensome coming from a pandemic that left so many of us out of work, and getting back on track remains a huge challenge,” he said.
The FDCP head added the “industry needs all the support it could get and not oppressive policies that only add unnecessary cost, paralyzing the industry even more.”
The mandatory drug testing for the sector was suggested Sunday by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs. He made the call after the arrest Saturday of actor Dominic Roco and his four companions during a buy-bust operation in Quezon City.
“Hinihiling at hinihikayat ko ang hanay ng ating movie industry na tumulong sa kampanya laban sa droga sa pamamagitan ng pag-police ng kanilang ranks at i-subject ang kanilang mga talents sa drug test bago bigyan ng pelikula,” the lawmaker said.
The proposal was welcomed by the Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr., who said employers can consider making drug tests a requirement.
“Lahat ho siguro ng mga ahensya or offices, if they can subject ‘yung kanilang mga employees to a drug test, napakaganda po because that is also one of the approach na puwede natin magawa in order to reduce the supply as well the demand,” he said on Monday.
“Puwedeng isama ‘yun, nasa employer 'yun. At kung ikaw naman 'yung employer, mas gusto mo naman na merong clean hand or kasama ka doon sa nag-a-advocate ng drug-free Philippines,” he added.