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Dolly de Leon Calls for Better Treatment and Higher Pay for Background Actors

In a recent interview with Tatler, Dolly De Leon raised concerns about the treatment and pay for background actors. The award-winning actress demanded a pay raise and better treatment for these talents.

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Apparently, extras get as little as 500 pesos per day according to De Leon, “and they are made to wait out in the sun with cardboard boxes as chairs.”

“They get treated like garbage,” she noted.

That needs to change. Big corporations have the budget to pay their big stars,” she pointed out. “So why don’t they have the budget to pay the background actors?”

Netizens testified to this claim and shared their experiences as film extras. One of which is host/DJ Debbie Then, who recalled her early days in the industry. She wrote on Twitter, “I can verify. One of my first gigs upon moving to the PH was an extra on a teen show. They laid out cardboard on the school courtyard we shot at and I was made to sit for a full 24 hours under the sun and in the cold at night. The other extras knew ’cause they brought blankets.”

She continued in another tweet, “600 pesos for 24hrs of my time. I was 16, new in town and even I knew it felt like a violation.”

Based on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s advisory on the working conditions in the movie and television industry, the “waiting time spent by a worker/talent shall be considered as working time if he/she is required or engaged to wait.” It also states that workers and talents must also be given safe, adequate, and free lodging and/or accommodation if the work is on location/set.

Nevertheless, Debbie also said that this was not always the case. “Did one more gig as an extra for another network, but was treated way better. Had an aircon tent for the extras, HMU/styling was provided. Even gave us goodie bags (it was a cooking show) aside from our higher TF. Overall better experience, but I stopped doing extra work anyway,” she expressed.

Dolly De Leon is the first Filipino to be a Golden Globe Awards nominee. She was also awarded Best Supporting Performer at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and was recently nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) for her role in Triangle of Sadness.