MANILA, Philippines – Lilibeth Romero, the longtime partner of the late Eddie Garcia "categorically" said on Monday, September 23, that the actor died because entertainment giant GMA-7 had failed to provide the 90-year-old actor a "safe" working environment.
Garcia died on June 20, days after he tripped over a cable while taping for what was then the upcoming GMA-7 teleserye Rosang Agimat. He fractured his cervical spine and was in a coma for several days before he passed away.
"Categorically, I state that Eddie Garcia's death was caused by gross negligence and unsafe working environment and the absence of a medical team on the set," Romero said at a Senate hearing on occupational safety and health standards, according to an Inquirer report.
"Unfortunately, TV network GMA should have made the working environment of the 90-year-old Eddie Garcia safe for him to work, more so in an episode or scene that called for a shooting, fight, or a stunt 'barilan' scene," she also said.
Romero said that she and Garcia's family will make sure that Garcia did not die in vain.
"If it takes his untimely death to prevent future threats to actors, stuntmen, and others inside the various production sets of television, film, and movie industries, then I, together with the members of the Garcia family, will fight until the end to get the rights and the protection of his colleagues in place," she said.
Following Garcia's death, his stepson, 1-Pacman representative Mikee Romero, filed the "Eddie Garcia Law" on safe workplaces for actors. Senator Bong Revilla also filed his own version of the bill in the Senate.
The Department of Labor and Employment said that GMA-7 committed 3 violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Law in the accident that led to the actor's death. GMA has contested these findings. – Rappler.com