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House passes Eddie Garcia bill

Eddie Garcia
Eddie Garcia

A year after the death of movie icon Eddie Garcia, a measure named after him was finally approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

The Eddie Garcia bill got the support of 235 members of the House. No one objected to its passage.

Primarily, the measure is proposing to institute the protection and promotion of welfare of workers in the film, television and radio entertainment industry.

It was principally authored by Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero, the late actor’s stepson.

The filing of the bill stemmed from the death on June 20 last year of the veteran actor 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.

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

He expressed gratitude to his colleagues and 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.

Other authors of the bill are Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez; Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo; and Manila Rep. Rolando Valeriano.

Romero said the measure requires the film, television and radio entertainment industry to provide a safe workplace for all its workers and employees.

“Workplace safety and health protocols shall be primordial to eliminate personal injuries, illness or even death from occurring inside the workplace,” Romero added.

Among other provisions, Bill No. 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 on 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, the chief implementer of the proposed law, would issue implementing rules and regulations.