House of Representatives

House OKs ‘Eddie Garcia law’ on safe workspaces in entertainment industry

Mara Cepeda
House OKs ‘Eddie Garcia law’ on safe workspaces in entertainment industry

EDDIE GARCIA. The late actor Eddie Garcia accepts his award during the 2018 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

The bill is named after Philippine cinema veteran Eddie Garcia, who went into a coma and later died after tripping on a cable while on the set of a GMA show in 2019

The House of Representatives passed on final reading a bill that sets policies for the protection of workers and independent contractors in the entertainment industry. 

On Tuesday, November 24, a total of 235 legislators voted yes to House Bill (HB) No. 7762 or the proposed “Eddie Garcia Act,” named after the late veteran actor who went comatose and later died after a tragic incident on the set of a GMA-7 teleserye last year.

No other lawmaker voted against the bill or abstained from voting. The Senate version of the Eddie Garcia Law is still pending at the committee level. 

The proposed Eddie Garcia Law sets occupational safety and health standards to protect the rights of workers in the film, television, and radio entertainment industries.

If passed into law, HB 7762 would require all employers to provide a contract for all workers and independent contractors, which should indicate the following:

  • Job position and status;
  • Job description;
  • Period of employment;
  • Details of compensation and other benefits;
  • Authorized deductions, if any;
  • Hours of work and proportionate additional payment for overtime hours;
  • Board, lodging, and medical attention;
  • Code of conduct;
  • Grievance mechanism for the employee;
  • Employer’s policies; and
  • Any other lawful condition agreed upon by both parties

HB 7762 would set the normal working hours per day at 8 hours for entertainment industry workers, which can be extended to a maximum of 12 hours. Work rendered beyond 8 hours would be subject to overtime pay.

The bill would also require that the minimum wage for workers and independent contractors would not be less than the applicable rate in the region.

The employees would also be covered by the Social Security System, the Pag-ibig Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation upon hiring.  

The employer must provide basic necessities to the entertainment industry workers, including meals for every 6 hours of work, enough drinking water, person with disability-friendly and gender-considerate bathrooms, private dressing rooms, well-ventilated holding areas, and free accommodation for out-of-town activities. 

The bill would also require employers to always provide a dedicated vehicle for emergencies in production sets. 

Garcia, a veteran in Philippine cinema, was hospitalized on June 8, 2019 after he tripped on a cable and fractured his cervical spine while taping for the GMA teleserye Rosang Agimat.

The fracture left him in a comatose state until his death on June 20 last year. (READ: Lilibeth Romero remembers Eddie Garcia: ‘I thought he was immortal’)

The Department of Labor and Employment already slapped GMA and other parties with a fine of P890,000 for labor violations in the incident, which led to Garcia’s death.

Garcia’s stepson, House Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Representative Michael “Mikee” Romero, was among the primary authors of the bill. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.