Early June of last year saw the entire Philippine entertainment industry in shock when longtime veteran actor Eddie Garcia suffered an accident on the set of what should have been his latest TV show, leaving him in a coma until his death on the 20th of that month. His tragic passing turned public and government attention to the trend of minimal consideration for welfare and safety of entertainment industry personnel during productions. The driving sentiment was that what happened to the Philippine cinema legend must not happen again. And that might come to pass with a certain legislation being put forward as a new law.
According to Inquirer.net, a bill promoting on-set safety and personal welfare of entertainment industry workers such as actors, production crew and others is being pushed to become a new law that will carry the name of the late Eddie Garcia, who died as a result of a production accident and was not provided on-site medical assistance for. One of the primary supporters for House Bill No. 181 in congress is Batangas Sixth District Representative and Deputy House Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto, who herself was a respected actress prior to entering politics.
HB181, known in full as the Actors’ Occupational Safety and Health Standard Bill or the “Eddie Garcia Act,” was presented at a hearing last week of the House Committee on Labor. The proposed legislation was put together with help from input provided by figures from the entertainment industry particularly for film and television. Deputy Speaker Santos-Recto, better known by her showbiz nickname of Ate Vi, stressed the pressing issues that can be address by passing the bill, saying in her statement, “It’s about time we heard what needs to be done to give protection to every person in the industry.”
It is understandable that the Eddie Garcia Act be called as such seeing as its principal author is 1-Pacman party-list chief Michael Romero, son of the late actor’s domestic partner Lilibeth Romero, making him his stepfather in turn. Its stipulations would compel film studios, TV networks and such to observe greater safety precautions in their productions, plus mandatory daily/weekly work-hour caps and cutback on impromptu work-condition changes such as out-of-town shoots, plus the constant presence of medical professionals or teams in case of unforeseen incidents. The measure has strong support from showbiz organizations and numerous celebrities who have freely recalled their own grueling work conditions.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines