Marcos signs “Eddie Garcia” law to protect movie, TV workers

(REPUBLIC ASIA) PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently signed the “Eddie Garcia” law, aptly named after the veteran actor who died from an accident while filming.

Republic Act 1196, or “An Act Protecting the Welfare of Workers in the Movie and Television Industry,” seeks to protect the welfare and rights of those in both the television and movie industry, demanding their employers meet minimum labor rights standards.

The law stipulates that employers must provide workers and independent contractors with a copy of their contract. It should include their job position and description, number of work hours, period or length of employment, and details of compensation.

The contract should also be written in a language understood by the employer and employee.

Entertainment industry workers must also be given wage-related and government-mandated benefits, insurance, social security, basic necessities, health and safety, and overtime pay for over eight hours of work. Included in this is the Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund, as well as the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

It also requires companies to follow the Labor Code of the Philippines, as well as Republic Act 11058, otherwise known as the “Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations.”

Furthermore, it requires a regular review of the industry’s working conditions to look at whether workers are receiving gainful employment, proper income, as well as protection from issues such as abuse, harassment, exploitation, or dangerous working conditions.

The law also bans discrimination of any kind as the basis for employment and mandates a workday of eight hours, which can extend to 14 hours, at most.

Employees should be provided with a 10-hour rest period between workdays, and if a scheduled shoot is canceled less than eight hours before its schedule, workers will still be paid.

Transportation expenses should be covered by the employer as well.

Those caught violating this law will have to pay the following:

  • PHP 100, 000 – First offense
  • PHP 200, 000 – Second offense
  • PHP 500, 000 – Third and succeeding offenses

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada labeled it as a significant milestone that can help to protect and promote the welfare of stakeholders within the industry and is a way to honor Garcia’s memory.

The award-winning actor, who was 90 years old at the time, died in 2019 from a cervical spine injury after tripping on a cable on the set of GMA’s teleserye “Rosang Agimat.” He fell into a coma for two weeks after the incident; his family announced his death shortly after.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) later found that GMA committed three violations as per the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law because they did not submit an incident report within 24 hours of the accident.

They also did not have a safety officer or first aid responder on set, which could have saved Garcia’s life.

DOLE noted that GMA failed to deploy personnel competent to provide first aid and medical attention to its cast and crew, which was a violation of DO 198.