We always figured that the advent of cheap CGI effects would have a deleterious effect on living, breathing stuntmen. But we had no idea things were so rough in the Filipino film industry. The Manila Times sheds some depressing light:
Stuntmen are not covered by life or health insurances, but merely hope for the assistance of the Mowelfund Film Institute in times of troubles. “Our purpose is to alleviate marginalized workers in the industry and to put up dignity because we noticed that those behind the cameras, if they were injured in an accident, have no one to run to,” explains Emilio Dollete, the assistant head of the Mowelfund. “Insurance companies won’t accept us,” laments Sorima…
With the decline of local movies goes the livelihood of stuntmen, “Now, we are starving. We only rely on teleseryes. No projects mean the family will starve,” Sorima sadly relates, adding, “Because of the industry’s downfall, it is sad that some of our colleagues are now collecting and selling junks, some became petty criminals while others have gone berserk.”
Who would forget the incident where stuntman Al Villegas was killed after taking four people hostage at the Taguig City Hall of Justice in 2007? “We’ve got to have other sources of income and not just depend on our earnings as stuntmen,” remarks Sorima.
The glory days of studio contracts and live-action shows must seem so very long ago to our stuntmen brethren.