Lawmaker proposes drug testing for celebrities before project starts

Lawmaker proposes drug testing for celebrities before project starts
This undated file photo shows shabu, an illegal drug substance in the Philippines.
The STAR / file

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 11:55 a.m.)  — A lawmaker has proposed that actors, actresses and celebrities should undergo a drug test first before starting any project in TV or in film.

Rep. Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte), who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said workers in the TV and film industry should be tested for drugs since the youth, who idolize them, may be influenced by them.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday, Barbers said producers, directors or TV networks can be asked to “require all their actors, actresses or any employee in the whole film industry to undergo such drug test in order to ensure that they are clean and not in any way involved in any vice.”

Barbers was also quoted in reports as saying in a statement on Sunday: “Actors, actresses and other movie celebrities should all be drug-free because they are public figures that are being idolized by the public, particularly the Filipino youth. They would be setting bad examples if they would be involved in the use of drugs or worse selling drugs.”

It is unclear whether Barbers intends to file a bill pushing the same.

In 2019, Reps. Barbers and Elpidio Barzaga Jr. also proposed random drug tests at the House of Representatives as well as mandatory drug tests for local government officials. Barbers made a similar proposal in 2018. Neither proposals were adopted.

The lawmaker issued a statement a day after actor Dominic Roco and four other individuals were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Quezon City early hours of Saturday.

Police seized 15 grams of alleged shabu and 10 grams of alleged marijuana in the operation.

The four arrested will face complaints for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Roco is the son of actor Bembol Roco and the twin of actor Felix Roco. His film credits include "Liway" and "I'm Drunk I Love You."  — with reports from Kristofer Purnell

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