‘Eddie Garcia’ bill gets Senate OK on final reading

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to protect movie and television workers from unfair treatment and poor working conditions.

Senate Bill No. 2505, otherwise known as the Eddie Garcia bill, received 22 affirmative, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions during Monday’s plenary session.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, chairperson of the chamber’s committee on labor and sponsor of the measure, said the bill would guarantee industry workers opportunities for gainful employment and decent incomes, as well as protection from abuse, extended working hours, harassment, hazardous conditions, and economic exploitation.

“A product of your Senate’s commitment to put forward the welfare of workers, this is our meaningful acknowledgment to them whose work [is] often overshadowed by the main content and star power of the main cast. We simply owe it to them,” Estrada said.

“This measure is the Senate’s recognition of the immense talent, dedication, and contribution not just of Filipino artists, but also those behind the camera who put their heart and soul to come up with material for the movie and television industry,” he added.

Estrada explained that the bill specifically seeks to push for the strict implementation of working hours, wages and other wage-related benefits, and social security to industry workers.

Once signed into law, the government will also be mandated to establish a Movie and Television Tripartite Council composed of representatives from the government, employers, and workers in the movie and TV industry.

Garcia died in  2019. The veteran actor suffered a neck injury after tripping and falling while shooting for an upcoming “teleserye.”