By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has recently filed a bill seeking to ensure Occupational Health and Safety Standards (OSHS) for movie and television workers in the country.
Revilla called his bill the proposed “Eddie Garcia Law”, as a tribute to the 90-year-old veteran actor who died last month after suffering a neck injury due to an accident while taping a television series.
The actor-turned-senator said he considers Garcia a friend, colleague and mentor.
Revilla believes that Garcia’s untimely death was an eye opener on the importance of a law that will cater to the safety needs of the entertainment industry.
“Isa si Tito Eddie sa mga haligi natin sa industriya kaya nakakalungkot na nawala sa atin ang isang buhay na alamat ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Hindi na ito dapat masundan dahil kahit kasing sikat man ni Tito Eddie o kahit yung ordinaryong manggagawa sa pelikula at telebisyon, dapat siguraduhin natin na ligtas at protektado ang lahat,” Revilla said in a statement on Wednesday.
(Uncle Eddie was one of the pillars of our industry that’s why it saddens me that we lost a living legend in the the Filipino movie industry. This should not happen again to another actor or ordinary worker in the movies or television, we should make sure that all are safe and protected.)
His bill seeks to strengthen the Republic Actn No. 11058 or the “Act Strengthening Compliance with OSHS and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof”, as well as the Labor Advisory No. 4 s. 2016 stipulating the Working Conditions in the Movie and Television Industry issued by Department of Labor and Employment.
Under the measure, specific working conditions like hours of work, waiting time, transportation, accommodation, social welfare benefits, such as those from PAGIBIG, Philhealth, SSS, and others, shall be strictly observed.
It also specifies the duty and responsibility of producers, especialluy in the making sure that workers and talents will have full health insurance and compensation to work-related injuries, sickness and death.
The bill also proposes the hiring of a Production Safety Officer in every movie or show being produced to ensure compliance with OSHS, conduct orientation and training of workers on occupational safety and health, enforce safe work practices, correct unsafe conditions, and investigate workplace accidents, among others.
Citing his experience as an actor, Revilla said show business “is not all glamour” and workers also have to endure “erratic” work hours, long-hours of shootings, and different locations where they are exposed to equipment that might cause accidents.
He said there is a need to further strengthen the compliance of media companies to OSHS towards achieving a better working condition for worker and talents in the industry.