At Eddie Garcia’s wake, Rez Cortez calls for better working conditions for film workers

MANILA, Philippines – Actor Rez Cortez expressed his hope that working conditions for Filipino film workers will improve, as he arrived at the Heritage Memorial Park chapel in Taguig on Thursday, June 20, to attend the wake of his former co-star Eddie Garcia.

Garcia, who died on Thursday, had been in a coma for 12 days after injuring his cervical spine while filming a scene for the GMA 7 teleserye Rosang Agimat. Garcia, 90, had tripped on a stray cable, and was tended to by bystanders when he didn’t get up after his fall. There was reportedly no medical team present on set – a matter that GMA 7 said it was investigating.

Rez, who starred with Garcia in the film Bwakaw in 2012, said that he hoped what happened to Eddie wou;d lead to safer working environments for film workers.

“Sana naman sa nangyari kay Eddie Garcia ay magkaroon na ng katuparan 'yung matagal na naming minimithi, na sana mabigyan na ng lunas 'yung matagal nang hinihingi ng mga manggagawa sa pelikulang Pilipino na maging ligtas, maging safe ang place of work,” he told reporters.

(Hopefully with what happened to Eddie Garcia, what we’ve longed for would finally be realized, that hopefully there will be a solution to what film workers have long been asking for: to have a safe place of work.)

Sana magkaroon na ng ng safety officers sa set, mayroong mga medical team, may ambulance, may insurance, at among others, sana maregulate na ang working conditions ng mga taga-pelikula at telebisyon.”

(Hopefully there will be safety officers on set, that there will be medical teams, ambulances, insurance, and among others, hopefully the working conditions of those working in film and television will be regulated.)

He said that this is something that would have resonated with Garcia: “Alam natin na ito’y adbokasiya rin ni Eddie Garcia dahil mahal na mahal niya ang manggagawa sa pelikulang Pilipinom(We know that this is Eddie Garcia’s advocacy, because he really loved those who worked in the Filipino film industry)."

Cortez said that he will remember Garcia’s kindness, as well as his dedication to his craft.

Ang tanging maalala na lang natin 'yung kanyang mga legacy na iiwanan, hindi lamang 'yung kanyang pagiging mabuting kaibigan, isang mabuting tao, kundi ang kanyang pagmamahal sa kanyang craft at ang mga nai-contribute niya sa industriya,” he said.

(What we will remember is the legacy he left behind, not only how he was a good friend, a good person, but also his love for his craft, and his contributions to the industry.)

Like Cortez, other members of the film and TV industry have highlighted the need to ensure the safety of film workers on set.

In a statement, the Director’s Guild of the Philippines (DGPI) said that Garcia’s death “is a sad and urgent reminder to the film and television industries that safety protocols at work and on set are of paramount importance.”

Judy Ann Santos had similar sentiments.

“Sana sa nangyaring to, maging bukas ang isip ng mga networks sa tamang pag-aalaga, pagbigay ng sapat na kaalaman sa lahat ng taga-production artista man o hindi, pagdating sa mga ganitong sitwasyon…maaring naiwasan sana,” she said on Instagram as she posted about Garcia’s death.

(Hopefully with what happened, networks will open their minds to the proper care, and also training for all those in production, be they actors or not, so that when it comes to this situation, it can be avoided.)

Sharon Cuneta also brought up the issue of safety in her Instagram tribute to the actor saying: “He should not have died yet. Had there been no neglect of safety for the actors, he would have lived to more than 100…!!!”

She has since edited the caption, saying: “For ‘World Peace,' I edited this. I am grieving. Let me be.”

Garcia’s wake would continue until Sunday, June 23. – Rappler.com