'Unlawful, pro-censorship': TBA Studios says FDCP overstepping mandate with new-normal rules


Posted at Jul 03 2020 08:08 PM

TBA Studios is the film company behind the massive hit 'Heneral Luna.' TBA Studios

MANILA — TBA Studios, the film company behind "Heneral Luna" and "I'm Drunk, I Love You," has joined the growing dissent to what it branded as an "unlawful" order from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), amid the industry's transition to new-normal practices.

The FDCP, in Advisory 06 that was released last week, detailed further, clarificatory guidelines regarding production shoots under the persisting coronavirus community quarantine.

Aside from earlier outlined protocols regarding safety and health on set, the FDCP now said productions are required to register with the government agency, seven days prior to a shoot.

The FDCP also enumerated its nationwide scope to include productions in television, advertising, and live events, among others.

Since the advisory's release, numerous organizations have denounced it, including the Directors' Guild of the Philippines, the Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association, and the more encompassing Inter-Guild Alliance.

In its own statement, TBA Studios pointed out that the FDCP's mandate is "to respect the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression and to promote the development and growth of the local film industry as a medium for the upliftment of aesthetic, cultural and social values or the better understanding and appreciation of the Filipino identity."


But the FDCP, TBA Studios asserted, has overstepped its mandate, noting that the law creating the agency "does not grant the council regulatory powers."

TBA Studios took particular issue with the FDCP requirement of registering a production a week prior, saying the measure is a "form of prior restraint that exudes censorship."

The FDCP, according to TBA Studios, can "use this false reportorial power and deny such production."

Further, the film company noted that the FDCP is going beyond its scope by applying the same measure to TV programs, advertising content, and corporate audiovisual productions.

"We at TBA Studios find FDCP's Advisory No. 6 to be overreaching, unlawful, and reeking of censorship in the form of prior restraint," it said.

"Lastly, FDCP is now hostile to its own mandate. TBA Studios stands united against FDCP Advisory No. 6."