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House OKs Eddie Garcia Act on 2nd reading

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading the proposed Eddie Garcia Act which seeks to prescribe safe working conditions and protocols in the film, television and radio entertainment industry.

House Bill (HB) 7762 is a consolidation of eight related measures, whose filing stemmed from the death on June 20 last year of veteran actor Eddie Garcia, who tripped on the production set while filming for GMA-7 network 12 days earlier on June 8.

Garcia suffered cervical cracks and fractures that led to his death. He was comatose for 12 days.

Among the authors of the measures that have been consolidated into HB 7762 are Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman party-list, a step son of the late actor, and Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City.

Romero said the whole nation mourned his step father’s death and “prompted the urgent reminder of the importance of safety protocols in any film or entertainment production set.”

He said the enactment of the proposed Eddie Garcia Act would deter the occurrence of a similar accident and loss of life.

“Under the bill, the entertainment industry is required to ensure protection of all its workers. Workplace safety and health protocols shall be primordial to eliminate personal injury, illness or even death from occurring inside the workplace,” Romero said.

Rodriguez said Garcia’s death “highlighted the lack of safety equipment and protocol during filming and the importance of safety protocols on the set of any production site.”

He said the bill would require companies in the entertainment industry “to provide a safe workplace for all their workers and employees.”

Among other provisions, HB 7762 provides that any employer in the entertainment industry and his employee or independent contractor shall have a contract or agreement specifying the terms and details of employment such as work hours, compensation, benefits, and job duration.

The normal length of work shall be eight hours, which can be extended to a maximum of 12 hours, provided the worker is paid overtime pay. The salary should not be less than the minimum wage.

The worker shall be covered by social security, Pag-ibig Fund and health insurance benefits.

The employer is required to follow safety and health protocols under existing laws, including the provision of occupational safety and health officers in production sites. The employment of minors would be covered by the law on protection of children against exploitation and abuse.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the chief implementer of the proposed law, would issue implementing rules and regulations.