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The Eddie Garcia Act may finally give film workers protection

The Eddie Garcia Act may finally give film workers protection

The death of Philippine cinema legend Eddie Garcia didn’t only leave fans devastated, it also angered film industry workers, proving our laws don’t give a fuck about their protection. 

But maybe it’s true: Legends stay legends. Once they leave the Earth, there’s some sort of legacy they place on the table. For Garcia, it’s not only his acting chops and tireless dedication—but a tangible shield in the name of the Eddie Garcia Act. 

If you’ve ever wondered about its progress, the House of Representatives approved the bill on Nov. 24, Tuesday. With 235 affirmative votes, it looks like Eddie Garcia Act or House Bill No. 7762 is making progress.

According to Inquirer, the Eddie Garcia Act will  protect not only of film workers, but folks from television and radio entertainment industry. But here’s the thing: It requires an employment contract between the employer/principal and worker/independent contractor.

House Bill No. 7762 requires the employer’s health and safety officers to conduct a risk assessment of the work location. This is to identify or remove any potential hazard to the workers.

Moreover, it also sets conditions for the compensable hours of work. Normal work hours should be eight hours a day, which can be extended to 12 hours maximum, exclusive of meal periods.

Employees will be entitled to Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) and retirement benefits, as they should. Occupational safety and health, mental health and anti-sexual harassment protection shall also be given. 

House Bill No. 7762 requires the employer’s health and safety officers to conduct a risk assessment of the work location. This is to identify or remove any potential hazard to the workers. With this, employers shall adequately insure all workers or independent contractors for work-related accidents or death in their production. 

Last year’s investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) revealed no safety officer was present during Garcia’s final taping, where the actor tripped and fell over a cable wire and suffered a neck injury. 

While it’s good that entertainment workers are finally getting the protection they deserve, it’s quite disappointing that a veteran’s death had to happen before lawmakers realize this. Even veteran actress Gloria Sevilla knows it’s been long overdue. 

 

Still from “Hintayan ng Langit” 

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Jelou Galang
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