Ice Seguerra, Bembol Roco expose dismal showbiz work conditions at Congress inquiry
From left: Actors Bembol Roco and Ice Seguerra
ABS-CBN/Released; The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file

Ice Seguerra, Bembol Roco expose dismal showbiz work conditions at Congress inquiry

Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - February 4, 2020 - 2:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — During the recent congressional hearing on various bills following the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia, celebrities Ice Seguerra and Bembol Roco have revealed the grueling working conditions of actors in the Philippines.

Ice, who started his showbiz career as a child star, turned emotional while telling his experience.  

"Sa init ng araw, nasa ilalim lang ho kami ng payong, nakaupo, walang maayos na lugar. Medyo nag-level up para sa mga artista, but unfortunately for the extras, it's like this. Until now, they come to the set earlier than all of us but you see them sitting in cardboard boxes. Wala man lang upuan, walang merienda minsan," the singer shared.

"It’s hard because they're there, because they are very passionate about what they do. They love what they do. We love what we do and that's why there’s a tendency for us to be abused because we love what we do and hindi kami nagrereklamo about it because mahal na mahal namin,” Ice added.

The former child star also expressed joy as the Congress finally addresses their concern in time for the 100th year of Philippine cinema.

"I'm just very happy on its 100th year, finally, we're seeing some hope. Finally, we are recognized as workers, as an industry... Unfortunately, actors can't really say much. They're bound by contract by these big networks and they can't say anything because there's a gag order," Ice said.

"Paano kami magsasalita? 'Pag nagsalita kami, mawawalan kami ng trabaho. Ang hirap rin for us," the actor added.

Bembol echoed Ice's sentiments, saying the working conditions in showbiz are hard and as early as the 1980s, director Lino Brocka and theater pioneer Benh Cervantes were already fighting for artists’ rights.

"Binibigyan niyo ng importansya ngayon 'yung aming kalagayan. Noon pa man early '80s, sila Lino Brocka, sila Behn Cervantes, have been trying to make this happen. Pero hindi nakakuha ng sapat na suporta. Hanggang ngayon eh ganun pa rin ang sitwasyon," Bembol said.

"Hindi naman kami humihingi nang hindi sapat sa amin. Fairness lang. Medyo naabuso kaming lahat sa pamamahala ng networks, ng producers na gan'un ang sistema na walang working hours. It's crazy to think na meron palang gan'ung trabaho walang limit sa oras,” he added.

Reports said the Congress is deliberating on the following measures:

HB 81 – Prescribing a mandatory occupational safety, health, and emergency response program for all artists in the film, television, and theater industries of the Philippines (Rep. Ronnie Ong)

HBs 181 & 4875 – Creating an Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act (OSHA) for the film, television, and theater industry of the Philippines (Deputy Speaker Michael Romero and Rep. Rufus Rodriguez)

HBs 1019 & 5596 – Regulating the work schedule and other terms of engagement governing cinema, radio, television, theater, and other media personnel who are covered by a service or talent contract and providing penalties for violations thereof (Reps. Precious Hipolito Castelo and John Marvin "Yul Servo" Nieto)

HB 1766 – Providing for proper working conditions in the movie and television industry (Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte Jr.)

HB 2476 – Providing enhanced protection, security and benefits for media workers (Rep. Rowena Niña Taduran)

HR 195 – Inquiry into the occupational health and safety of the workers of the entertainment industry in light of the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia (Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte Jr.)

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