Capitalists And Money

Proposed mandatory drug test for artists seen as discriminatory 

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

A LAWMAKER’S call to have artists undergo drug test before being signed up for a project is discriminatory, entertainment industry members said.   

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers made the proposal Sunday in a press release following Saturday’s arrest of actor Ricardo Dominic A. Roco along with four others in a buy-bust operation.  

“These celebrities should all be drug-free as they are public figures that are being idolized by the public, particularly the Filipino youth,” said Mr. Barbers, chair of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.  

A member of the Actor’s Guild of the Philippines, Evangeline Torcino or more well-known as Madam V, said in a Facebook Messenger call such requirement does not necessarily guarantee an end to drug use.   

“In real life, if this is implemented, some actors would just temporarily not use drugs prior to testing, and then go back again after the test,” said Madam V, who also works as a casting director.   

“If this is implemented, this should be applied to all including the director and production staff.”  

James Robin M. Mayo, a film director, said Mr. Barbers may have good intention but the proposal needs further assessment.   

“The congressman’s intention is good, however, it is faulty because it only has actors as specific targets,” he said in a Facebook Messenger chat. “Who are these actors that he is referring to, does it include extras?”  

“What if the crews also use illegal drugs?” he said. “This still needs more study.”  

Senator Robinhood Ferdinand “Robin” C. Padilla, a former actor, said a drug test requirement for artists is “tantamount to violating their human rights.”  

He added that should anyone be subjected to such mandatory testing, it would be public officials and employees “as they have the responsibility to provide our people with a good example.” — Kyanna Angela Bulan