Last June, the Philippine entertainment industry suffered a major loss. Legendary veteran actor Eddie Garcia, 90 years old at the time, died late that month. While his was already a ripe old age, the circumstances of his passing were contentious, seeing as he had been shooting a scene for an in-production new TV series when he tripped on some wiring and hit his head, resulting in a neck and cervical fracture. GMA7, the network producing the soap that Garcia was co-starring in, was placed under scrutiny by government agencies for the lack of medical personnel on scene to help the actor in case of accidents.
With the September 11 release of the results from a preliminary report done by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regarding GMA7’s possible culpability in the accident that led to the death of Eddie Garcia, the Kapuso Network presented its own official comments on the findings this Monday, September 16 according to CNN Philippines. Three points raised by the DOLE report last week that were considered to be violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law and its implementing rules and regulations were in turn refuted by GMA7.
The first point raised in the DOLE report took the network to task for not submitting a report on Garcia’s grave accident within a 24-hour period from its occurrence as required in the OSH Law. To this, GMA7 pointed to regulations in said law that gave exceptions to incidents of “work accidents resulting in disabling injury or death.” They did however pass the results of their own initial investigation to Garcia’s family, a copy of which was given to DOLE a month after the incident.
For point two of the DOLE investigation, they cited the apparent lack of a DOLE-certified safety officer at the TV shooting location where Garcia was injured. The Kapuso Network however noted that the safety officer requirement of the OSH Law applies only to regular workplace venues. As they were using temporary outside location rather than a fixed indoor set there should be no violation. In any case, GMA notes that they did have a sufficient number of DOLE-certified safety officers to look after their employees.
Regarding the final point, GMA7 refuted the DOLE assertion that no first aid professional was on their set to immediately attend to accidents like what Eddie Garcia suffered. The network noted that at least three of the production staff that fateful day in June 8 were duly trained and qualified to perform first aid and life-saving procedures like CPR, and that what happened to the movie and TV legend was ultimately an accident that no regulatory precautions could have foreseen.
When DOLE issued GMA7 a directive to provide a list of outside filming locations for all their current and upcoming TV dramas, the Kapuso network could not provide not. They explained that it was not a refusal to abide by department rulings but rather an unfortunate improbability of compliance, due to most of these outside locations being either tentative, or one-off and transient by nature, with different supervisors working different places. What they could provide was a list of their regularly-used sets for show tapings, usually indoor locations like houses.
GMA concludes its official commentary on the DOLE report with the assurance that they will remain in full cooperation with the department in providing a final word on the tragic circumstances that led to the farewell of such an actor as Eddie Garcia from showbiz.
Image courtesy of Manila Bulletin