Court Convicts Rappler CEO Ressa in Cyber Libel Case

Jun 15, 2020

Source: CNN Philippines, Jun 15, 2020

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 15) — The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 on Monday convicted online news organization Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. over the cyber libel case involving businessman Wilfredo Keng.

Rappler’s lawyer Atty. Theodore Te said they will file an appeal against the ruling.

The charges stem from a 2012 Rappler article which reported on Keng’s alleged connection to illegal activities, including human trafficking and drug smuggling.

Keng filed the complaint in 2017, nearly five years after the article was posted on Rappler’s website.

“The article was published by Rappler, without observing the ethical standards of journalism. It contained malicious imputations of crimes, with bad intentions, purposely to malign, dishonor and discredit my character and good reputation,” the complaint read.

Rappler, however, said that Santos, who bore the story’s byline, only cited an intelligence report, as well as a 2002 news article which already reported on the same allegations.

In addition, the organization maintained that Keng’s side was published and that he was “repeatedly asked” by the reporter. The businessman has said that Rappler, Ressa and Santos never attempted to obtain his side or to fact-check the “baseless attacks” against him.

While the story was initially published months before the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was passed, the prosecution has argued that the article was republished on February 19, 2014.

But according to Rappler, there were no substantial modifications made to the story, as the update only involved correction of typographical errors. Te has also noted that the temporary restraining order on the cybercrime law was still in effect when the story was updated, hence, the republication principle should not apply.

Te earlier said they are ready to bring the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Ressa and Santos may face imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to up to seven years. Keng has also demanded ₱50 million in damages.

Source: adobo magazine, June 11, 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The DeSource: Film Development Council of the Philippines, June 7, 2020
June 07, 2020

JOINT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER
No. 2020 – 001

SUBJECT: Health and Safety Protocols for the Conduct of Film and Audiovisual Production Shoots and Audiovisual Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic

I. BACKGROUND

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines states that for areas placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) film, music, and television production may operate at fifty percent (50%) operational capacity while encouraging work-from-home and other flexible work arrangement where applicable. Operating establishments are mandated to comply with minimum public health standards at all times. In the absence of a vaccine or definitive cure for COVID-19, these non-pharmaceutical interventions remain the most effective ways to prevent the spread and mitigate the risks of COVID-19. In view of the foregoing, this Order reiterates that all departments, sections, units, and individuals involved in the production shoots of film and audiovisual activities must adhere to the minimum public health standards prescribed under the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order 2020-0015 as may hereinafter be amended.

II. OBJECTIVE

These guidelines are issued to set minimum health and safety protocols for the film and audiovisual sector in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Order aims to provide guidance to all companies and workers for the resumption of production shoots of film and the audiovisual content and other audiovisual activities following the established minimum public health standards for COVID-19 mitigation within various levels of community quarantine.

This Order prescribes the necessary prevention, detection, and rapid response measures to be implemented while maintaining business continuity across the film and audiovisual sector.

III. SCOPE AND COVERAGE

These guidelines shall cover the following:

1. All film and audiovisual companies;
2. All film and audiovisual workers including but not limited to employees, regardless of employment status, and independent contractors/freelancers;
3. All forms of film and audiovisual content including but not limited to motion picture, film, television, animation, advertising, and other audiovisual content;
4. All production stages from Pre-production, Production or Principal Photography, and Post-Production;
5. All venues of production, including on-location, studios, workplace, production sites, post-production facilities, and other venues; and
6. All others concerned with the conduct of Film and Audiovisual Production Shoots in all stages.

IV. DEFINITION OF TERMS

A. Administrative Controls – refer to procedural interventions or modifications in policies, standards, and processes, that are meant to reduce the frequency and severity of exposure to infectious diseases (e.g. hygiene and disinfection protocols, temperature scan, work shifting, etc.).
B. Engineering Controls – refer to physical interventions or modifications in spaces or environments, that are meant to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases (e.g. use of physical barriers, exhaust ventilations, etc.).
C. Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Officer – refers to a key professional in the work environment that provides occupational health and safety management and advice, conducts monitoring and reporting in the workplace, and engages staff in programs that ensure safe practice in the workplace.
D. Personal Protective Equipment – refers to protective garments or equipment worn by individuals to increase personal safety from infectious agents.
E. Post-Production – refers to the tasks that must be completed or executed after the filming or shooting ends including but not limited to editing, visual effects, motion graphics, music scoring, color grading, and sound design.
F. Pre-Production – refers to the planning stage where elements involved in the audiovisual content are finalized, including but not limited to script reading, setup, look test, wardrobe preparation, and rehearsal.
G. Principal Photography – refers to the stage where the bulk of the film is shot, with actors on set and cameras rolling, as distinct from pre-production and post-production.
H. Producer- refers to a person who is the head of, or acts as the representative of the production company who shall serve as a direct or indirect employer, and shall be directly or indirectly liable for all incurred violations in the workplace.
I. Production Zone – a work zone that allows for the production to be broken down and operate within physical distancing protocols.
J. Set – refers to the area in which a scene is shot. A set may include scenery and props, among others.
K. Work Zone – refers to a system for workplace groups to keep different crews, staff, and contractors physically separated at all times. Some locations may need to apply alternative methods to the creation of work zones to achieve work group separation.

V. GENERAL GUIDELINES

A. Reorienting Production Shoots and Practices

To protect the health and safety of all personnel required to perform film and audiovisual duties while COVID-19 exists in the community, all Producers/Employers shall ensure that all workplaces comply with the DOH minimum health standards for COVID-19 mitigation, through the following strategies:

1. Increase Physical and Mental Resilience;
2. Stop Transmission;
3. Reduce Contact Rate; and
4. Shorten the Duration of Infectiousness of COVID-19.

Producers/Employers must be responsible for implementing controls pursuant to these strategies and for maintaining records to provide evidence that the requirements have been met. They must also ensure that records, forms, documents, and other information are appropriately kept and recorded for reporting and tracing purposes. Responsible business and filming activities means ensuring the health and safety of workers and the public.

B. Compliance with Local Community Quarantine Guidelines

Without prejudice to these guidelines, production companies and workers must comply with the current community quarantine protocols where the production site or workplace is located, including curfews and other related guidelines and local issuances.

C. Mandatory Presence of OSH Personnel

Necessary OSH officer/s shall be present in all workplaces and areas, at all times, during working hours. The number and types of OSH officers shall depend on the activities and total number of workers that are present in the shoot, as prescribed in Sections 14 and 15, Chapter IV of DOLE Department Order No. 198 S. 2018 . Regardless of whether it is a workplace or production site, the qualified OSH personnel shall conduct an ocular inspection of the area and institute the necessary control measures. They shall likewise conduct health and safety orientation to all workers prior to the start of the production.

D. Additional Function of the OSH Officer

The Occupational Safety and Health Act mandates the presence of an OSH Officer on workplaces and production sites. For the purposes of COVID-19 mitigation, an additional function will be given to the OSH officer to ensure that COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be in place for the safe conduct of production shoots and activities.

E. Protecting the Vulnerable Workers

Producers/Employers are discouraged from allowing workers who fall under any of the following categories to work on set:
1. below twenty-one (21) years old;
2. more than sixty (60) years old;
3. of any age with co-morbidities or pre-existing illness (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or with immunocompromised health status); or
4. with a high-risk pregnancy.

The Producer/Employer must develop agreements that detail alternative work arrangements and deliverables from these workers with no diminution in talent fees or benefits.

F. Workplace with Imminent Danger Situations

In workplaces where workers are evidently at risk of infection as in health-care and other frontline services, the Producer/Employer shall ensure that there is access to a health care provider, as appropriate to the projected risks of the environment and activities of the workers.

Workers in said workplaces shall take extra precautionary measures, which include strict hygiene and the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Producers/Employers shall ensure that PPE (e.g. surgical masks, gowns, gloves) is properly worn by the workers while at work and disposed of accordingly after use.

G. Refusing Unsafe Work

In line with Section 5.4 (d) of the FDCP-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 S. 2020 Guidelines Governing The Working Conditions And Occupational Safety And Health Of Workers In The Audio-visual Production, all workers shall have the right to refuse work which they reasonably believe is potentially hazardous to their own health and safety or that of others. All workers must also be oriented on safety and health hazard identification, risk assessment and control (HIRAC) to assess and identify occupational hazards in their workplace accurately. Reported unsafe conditions and actions must be immediately investigated and remedied without delay by the OSH Officer.

H. Reporting of production shoots and Illnesses/Diseases/Injuries

In line with the reportorial requirements of the FDCP-DOLE JMC No. 001 S. 2020, all scheduled production shoots (whether for film, TV, web, and other audiovisual content) must be reported to DOLE and FDCP at least seven (7) days before the production shoot day. Refer to Annex L.1 for the Production Registration Form. Every notifiable accident or injury must be submitted to the DOLE Regional Office or the FDCP within 30 days after the date of the accident. Refer to Annex L.9 for the Illness, Disease, and Injury Investigation Form.

VI. IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES

A. General Precautionary Measures

1. Producers/employers and workers shall strictly comply with the following measures to reduce chances of exposing themselves or others to the virus:
a. Observe physical distancing (staying no less than one meter apart from each other) at all times. For further guidelines on physical distancing, refer to Annex A.
b. Avoid unnecessary touching of face, mouth, and eyes.
c. Smoking and use of electronic cigarettes or vaping devices is prohibited, especially in the workplace and production site. For designated smoking areas outside of these places, protocols must be compliant with Executive Order No. 26, s. 2017 Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-free Environments in Public and Enclosed Spaces.
d. Observe strict personal hygiene and sanitation practices both at work and away from work.
i. Wash hands with soap and water, or use alcohol or sanitizers to disinfect hands.
ii. Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing using disposable tissue or the inner portion of the elbow.
e. Wear appropriate PPE at all times. Reusable, washable cloth face masks are recommended to the general population, while medical-grade, surgical face masks are recommended to be used by individuals with symptoms or underlying health conditions.
f. Inform the production immediately and subject themselves to 14-day self-quarantine if:
i. Workers live with or have had close contact with people who are confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases; or
ii. Workers exhibited COVID-19 symptoms within the past 14 days.
g. In instances where production requires interaction with foreign producers, crew members, actors, and other international visitors, refer to the COVID-19 Immigration Protocols and Domestic Restrictions, Annex B.
h. Further guidelines for all cast, crew, and workers can be found in Annex H.

2. Under specific COVID-19 community quarantine conditions or work environments, the following shall be observed:
a. All violations and concerns regarding failure to meet COVID-19 plans and policies must be immediately reported to FDCP, DOLE, and DOH.
b. COVID-19 health declarations shall be completed before commencing work, and when reasonably requested throughout each project. See Annex D for more information on COVID-19 health declarations and Annex L.4 for the COVID-19 Health and Safety Declaration Form for workers.
c. If any role or work at any point in the production may be done remotely or from home, workers may request the same upon discussion with the Producer/Employer.
d. If any COVID-19 measures are impeding the worker’s ability to undertake his/her role safely, he/she must notify the production immediately.

For further guidelines on preparing and setting up workplaces under COVID-19, refer to Annex E.

3. Before proceeding to on-site operations, management must first adhere to the following controls:
a. Engineering Controls:
1. Handwashing facilities, hand sanitizers, and dispensers with an alcohol-based solution must be placed in all entrances, exits, and areas with high foot traffic.
2. Where possible, redesign office layout to ensure that physical distancing can be observed. Alternatively, physical barriers may also be placed.
3. Physical markers for physical distancing will also help enforce physical distancing. Visual cues must be placed to guide individuals to maintain a distance of at least one (1) meter apart from each other.
4. An isolation area or space must be designated in any workplace or venue in all stages of production. This area will be where workers who are showing signs of contagion will stay while waiting for transport to healthcare facilities.
5. Waste management protocols, especially for infectious wastes, must be in place. Trash bins must be made available in strategic locations in the workplace.
6. Where possible, appropriate ventilation and management of movement must be implemented as measures for infection prevention (e.g. separate paths for entry and exit).

b. Administrative Controls:
1. The Producers/Employers must craft a compliance plan to achieve the requirements of this Joint Administrative Order, focusing on managing work to maintain the health of workers engaging in the film and audiovisual sector. All involved in the film and audiovisual sector must play a part in minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
2. The Producers/Employers must assign the necessary OSH officer/s required to be present in all workplaces at all times during working hours.
3. The Producers/Employers shall ensure that the plan and work protocols are communicated effectively to workers and other individuals by the OSH Officer before entering the site, or work. Language, culture, and disability requirements must be taken into account to ensure information is understandable for all.
4. The Producers/Employers must communicate and engage with their workers regularly on how to safely carry out work in a COVID-19 environment. Planning and implementing COVID-19 protocols must involve workers.
5. The Producers/Employers must consider the time it will take to implement safety controls required for the workplace i.e. allotting at least two hours to employ safety protocols during the work day.
6. The Producer/Employer must ensure that all hazards have been reviewed and are appropriately controlled. This includes workers’ understanding of the operations, having fit-for-purpose equipment, checking the material, and environmental conditions. The plan and work protocols must take into account the possibility that a site or location where film and audiovisual activity will take place may have become unsafe during the quarantine period.
7. Provision of alternative structures and arrangements for work:
i. Pre-production meetings, technical meetings, and other prep work must be done online.
ii. Employees who are able to accomplish their duties off-site must adopt work-from-home arrangements.
iii. For other pre-production meetings and activities that absolutely cannot be done online, the basic guidelines of physical distancing and having a minimal number of people in the workplace must be put in place.
8. The Producer/Employer must provide mental and psychosocial support such as, but not limited to providing mindfulness activities/sessions,in-house counseling sessions, online counseling, and support groups to workers. Refer to Annex F for considerations for occupational mental health and well-being.
9. The Producer/Employer must monitor current national issuances and local ordinances for disease control and implementing of local and national regulations before production so that plans or schedules may be adjusted.
10. Movement of workers, service providers, and contractors between projects and sites must be planned and coordinated properly with the respective producers/employer to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
11. The Producer/Employer must provide transportation, food, and other services to workers, as needed.
12. Only workers who have been asymptomatic within the last 14 days prior to the date of work resumption are cleared to return to work, pursuant to DOH Department Memorandum No. 2020-0220.
13. Producers may test workers for COVID-19 following protocols expounded in Annex G.

Further department-specific and operations-specific guidelines for pre-production can be found in Annex C.1.

B. On-Site Operations

1. Once all controls are in place, the following on-site operation protocols must be complied with:
a. Producers/ Employers must provide for daily on-site screening to ensure workers are fit for duty as they enter a site or start a film and audiovisual-related activity. This shall follow DOH guidelines for detection of COVID-19 symptoms, and identification of risk factors.
2. All workers must be registered as they enter a work area, and such records must be kept by the person controlling the work area. Work area registers are to be filled in, where it is practical to do so, at the worksite, part of the worksite, or where film and audiovisual sector-related work is carried out.
a. Workers must be subject to temperature checks prior to entering the building/office spaces. Workers who exhibit a temperature >37.5°C or show flu-like symptoms must not report to work, and must exhibit no symptoms for a minimum of 14-days before being cleared for work.
b. Producers/Employers must follow the DOH guidelines in referring and transporting symptomatic workers or those who will register symptoms to appropriate facilities. Refer to Annex G.
c. Producers/Employers must train workers in the proper use, cleaning, and disposal of PPE designed to minimize COVID-19 transmission in line with DOH guidelines.
d. Workers must be given guidance by the Producer/Employer on how to decontaminate themselves and their clothing when returning to their home living arrangements, and accessing other services where they may be in contact with others (including public spaces, retailers, and medical services).
e. Mass gatherings are prohibited, pursuant to DOH AO No. 2020-0015.
i. Only a maximum of fifty (50) individuals shall be allowed to partake in public activities in low-risk areas, and as determined by its risk-severity rating.
ii. Only essential workers necessary to perform physical work, supervise work, or conduct work will be allowed to report physically at the workplace or shooting site.
iii. All workers who can work from home must work from home. Visitors to the site will be restricted to the minimum necessary to deliver work.
f. Work vehicles must be sanitized after each journey through cleaning of internal surfaces and external handles and touchpoints. Physical distancing must be observed when using the vehicle (i.e. reduced capacity) pursuant to Department of Transportation guidelines.
g. Producers/Employers must ensure that all concerned departments and workers are aware of scene and location restrictions as stated in Annex I.

3. To further mitigate COVID-19 in on-site operations, the following additional controls shall also be put in place and complied with:
a. Engineering Controls
i. Protocols for transport of suspect COVID-19 cases must be in place, including provision of ambulance. (Hospitals will report to suspect cases of COVID-19 to DOH.)
ii. Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects, and routine replacement of disinfectant solutions in foot baths must be observed.
iii. Availability of hand soaps, sanitizers, and other disinfectants in restrooms and in all entrances and facilities must be ensured.
iv. Footbath mats must be placed in all entrances. Solutions may be 1:10 bleach solution i.e. 1 litre bleach mixed with 9 litres of clean water.

Further department-specific and operations-specific guidelines for production or principal photography can be found in Annex C.2 while post-production guidelines can be found in Annex C.3.

b. Administrative Controls
i. For each location or workplace, OSH officer/s must be provided by the Producer/Employer to monitor and manage Occupational Safety and Health within the work environment including COVID-19 site protocols.
ii. All offices and workplaces must implement additional disinfection measures of common areas, as recommended by the DOH.
iii. Additional sanitary measures must be implemented at the work location, including but not limited to, establishing proper respiratory hygiene practice and hand washing protocols.
iv. Work areas with the potential for close interaction with members of the public or other persons not involved in the work must be arranged to achieve physical distancing.
v. Workplaces must be separated into zones to keep different crews, staff, and contractors physically separated at all times. Some locations may need to apply alternative methods for the creation of work zones to achieve work group separation. Further guidelines for production zone breakdown can be found in Annex J.
vi. Work that requires close personal contact between workers (e.g. lighting, camera operation, sound, grip work, cast, makeup, wardrobe) must be minimized. Work of this nature must be planned and managed to establish a safe system of work following the COVID-19 Community Quarantine conditions for operation. Risk of COVID-19 transmission must be included in risk assessments, and the highest level of control must be considered and properly implemented.
vii. All vehicles and transportation must be in line with the Department of Transportation’s omnibus public transport protocols and guidelines.
viii. All items in the workplace or production site including deliveries must be carefully managed, controlled, and regularly sanitized.
ix. Equipment and material deliveries must be planned and managed to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

C. Leaving Site or Place of Work

1. After daily operations, management must ensure routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects, and routine cleaning and replacement of disinfectant solutions in footbaths.
2. As they leave, all persons must be checked out of the production site, or the workplace, and all records of these must be kept.
3. For each site and workplace, commonly used areas and surfaces that workers may have come in contact with must be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each working day or the end of each shift. Specific guidelines for cleaning and disinfection can be found in Annex K.
4. All waste and disposable PPE must be securely and safely disposed of. Appropriate controls and consideration must be made for those handling contaminated (or potentially contaminated) waste products.

D. Interzonal Movement

1. Interzonal movement for the purpose of conducting audiovisual productions shall remain prohibited except when the localities have the same quarantine setup, in which case such movement shall be considered movements within a single quarantine zone. All Producers/Employers and workers are strongly encouraged to carry out production within their areas of domicile.

E. Emergency Management

1. All Producers/Employers must ensure that workers understand that any individual exhibiting flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing, or chest congestion must immediately inform their production, subject themselves to self-quarantine, and inform their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) or Local Health Office for monitoring.
2. Any business, workplace, or site that has had a worker with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis shall:
a. Contact the DOH Epidemiology Bureau or their respective Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to report possible exposure and facilitate contact tracing, as necessary;
b. Gather records of all persons who have been on-site, or who have had close contact or involved with the person who has tested positive from the past two weeks of the onset of symptoms. These records must be presented to the DOH to aide in contact tracing;
c. Inform the wider workforce of the situation while protecting the individual’s privacy so that further health monitoring can take place for individuals that a confirmed COVID-19 case potentially had contact with;
d. Clean and sanitize all site surfaces and equipment;
e. Prevent any person from entering the workplace until disinfection of the workplace has been performed; and
f. Follow any other directions from DOH.

VII. SAFE FILMING PROGRAM

The FDCP in partnership with DOH and DOLE shall implement the Safe Filming Program which will take the strategies and guidelines herein provided, and create a global resource website that outlines the principles of safe production and provide information about systems, resources, forms, and all related documents and issuances to ensure working safely in Philippines for both local and international film productions. It shall also be a platform for an active collaboration with international film commissions and stakeholders to share best practices and updates especially with the constant assessment and management and risks of infection transmission.

VIII. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

A. The Film Development Council of the Philippines shall:
1. Monitor the implementation of the policy and consolidate reports and recommendations from LGUs and production companies; and
2. Report the intended location of the production shoot to the concerned LGUs (whether in the workplace, studio, on-location, or other venues).

B. The Department of Labor and Employment shall:
1. Provide technical assistance in developing the necessary labor standards, protocols, and guidelines in the workplace during the COVID-19 Pandemic;
2. Enforce penalties for reported violations of this Order; and
3. Coordinate the same to FDCP for the Safe Filming Program.

C. The Department of Health shall:
1. Continue to update the set minimum public health standards based on most recent evidence available and issue succeeding updates through DOH Department Circulars; and
2. Provide technical assistance in developing the necessary health standards, protocols, and guidelines in the workplace during the COVID-19 Pandemic; and
3. Coordinate the same to FDCP for the Safe Filming Program.

D. The LGUs shall:
1. Implement and monitor compliance with the COVID-19 mitigating guidelines. For violations of the same, the LGU shall impose necessary sanctions according to IATF guidelines; and
2. Send a report to FDCP on the implementation and compliance of the production shoots.

E. Film and Audiovisual Production Companies and all other concerned shall:
1. Comply with the provisions of this Order and other relevant issuances in ensuring the health and safety of all individuals involved in film and audio-visual productions;
2. Establish the necessary controls (engineering, administrative and PPE) and referral mechanisms for COVID-19 mitigation in production shoots;
3. Ensure all individuals involved in production shoots adhere to the guidelines specified in this Order;
4. Report to FDCP and DOLE on their scheduled location shoots, in compliance with DOLE-FDCP JMC;
5. Submit other reportorial requirements of this Order or as may be required by FDCP, DOLE or DOH; and
6. Keep a record of all contacts of relevant government offices and health facilities for coordination and assistance in observance of the guidelines of this Order. Refer to Annex M.

IX. REPEALING CLAUSE

Other related issuances not consistent with the provisions of this Order are hereby revised, modified, or rescinded accordingly. Nothing in this Order shall be construed as a limitation or modification of existing laws, rules and regulations.

X. PENALTIES

Penalties as administrative fines may be imposed through DOLE Department Order No. 198 S. 2018 for any willful failure to comply with this Joint Administrative Order. Further, any person or entity found to have violated the provisions in this Order are subject to penalties and other legal actions in accordance with, but not limited to, existing laws and orders for the COVID-19 response, such as Republic Act No. 11469 – Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, Republic Act No. 11332 – Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and Republic Act No. 11058 – Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act.

XI. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE

Should any provision of this Order or any part thereof be declared invalid, the other provisions, insofar as they are separable from the invalid ones, shall remain in full force and effect.

XII. EFFECTIVITY

This Order shall take effect immediately.

Sgd.
MARY LIZA B. DIÑO
Chairperson and CEO
Film Development Council of the Philippines

Sgd.
FRANCISCO T. DUQUE, III
Secretary
Department of Health

Sgd.
SILVESTRE H. BELLO, III
Secretary
Department of Labor and Employment

partment of Health (DOH), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have joined forces to release guidelines for the resumption of production work and activities in the film and audiovisual industry amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

 

The “Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2020-001 on the Health and Safety Protocols for the Conduct of Film and Audiovisual Production Shoots and Audiovisual Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic” was signed with immediate effectivity on June 7, 2020 by FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.

 

“These guidelines, drafted in consultation with professional guilds and stakeholders, prioritize the health and safety of our film and audiovisual workers as they slowly resume operations,” said Diño-Seguerra. “As the film and audiovisual industry is part of the country’s hardest-hit business sector due to COVID-19, it is empowering that our lead government agencies are working with the FDCP to support industry members in transitioning to the new normal of performing their works while ensuring a safe environment amidst the pandemic.”

The Order covers all film and audiovisual companies; workers regardless of employment status (including contractors and freelancers); all contents (including motion picture, film, television, animation, and advertising); all stages of production (including pre-production, principal photography, and post-production); all venues of production (including locations, production and animation studios, workplaces, production sites, and post-production facilities); and all others concerned with the conduct of film and audiovisual production shoots in all stages.

In the absence of a vaccine and definitive cure, producers and employers are required to comply with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and DOH minimum health standards for COVID-19 mitigation by increasing the physical and mental resilience of workers, stopping transmission, reducing contact rate, and shortening the duration of infectiousness.

With sectors slowly returning to work as we jumpstart our economy, the risk of COVID-19 affecting our population remains. “These minimum health and safety protocols will ensure that our workers in the film and audiovisual industry are protected. Furthermore, by implementing these guidelines we likewise ensure that this protection extends to their families and communities,” the Health Secretary said.

Among the mandatory control measures that promote the safety and health of workers are the following:Reduce the number of workers and create alternative work arrangements. A maximum of 50 workers only shall be allowed to work in production sites.

  1. Modify necessary revisions of scripts and production executions without sacrificing health safety measures.
  2. Maintain physical distancing.
  3. Employ engineering controls to limit physical contact and personal hygiene. There must be handwashing stations, footbath mats in all entrances, and physical barriers in common areas. The sanitation of workplaces and production or shooting sites, as well as the disinfection of equipment, wardrobe, props, and vehicles must be done regularly. There must also be a designated COVID-19 isolation area in locations and workplaces for all stages of production.
  4. Enforce effective implementation of JAO through Administrative controls. Producers and employers must disseminate all COVID-19 health and safety protocols to workers and must plan their work and productions to comply with the requirements of the Joint Administrative Order. Safety orientations must be conducted before the resumption of production work.
  5. Proper use of PPEs. Workers must wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) like surgical masks, face shields, and gloves at all times. They should also use alcohol or hand sanitizer religiously, on top of washing their hands properly. Producers and employers must provide an ample supply of PPE and alcohol or hand sanitizer.

 

In order to ensure compliance with the minimum standards of the JAO and the occupational safety and health (OSH) of workers, an OSH Officer must be present in workplaces and production sites at all times.

Vulnerable population groups composed of pregnant women, senior citizens, and those with underlying health conditions are discouraged from working on production sites as they have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The producer or employer must develop agreements that detail alternative work arrangements and deliverables from these workers with no diminution in talent fees or benefits.

Aside from ensuring the strict compliance of industry stakeholders, the Order also provides for the Safe Filming Program which will give information on working safely in the Philippines by creating a resource website with the guidelines, systems, resources, forms, documents, issuances, updates, and best practices from international film commissions.

FDCP-DOH-DOLE Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-001 was published on June 7, 2020 in a newspaper of general circulation.

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