DOLE hit over lack of inspection in TV productions

Published June 28, 2021, 4:47 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Imee Marcos on Monday, June 28, chided the Department of Labor and Employement (DOLE) for supposedly failing to regularly conduct labor inspections in television and movie production outfits.

Senator Imee Marcos (Senate of the Philippines)

At the hearing of the Senate labor committee on the bills to protect workers in the broadcast, print and online media, and the proposed “Eddie Garcia Law” for workers in the entertainment and film industry, Marcos complained that she was not aware or has yet to see any inspections done by DOLE in television and film shootings, particularly within her home province Ilocos Norte.

“‘Di ba dapat may routine, ‘yong regular or even random visitations (Shouldn’t you be conducting routine or regular inspections or even random visitations)?” the former Ilocos Norte governor and representative asked, adding that the agency should have a mechanism in place for complaints and other labor-related reports in the sector.

DOLE Assistant Secretary Teresita Cucueco admitted that while there were inspections on the compliance of broadcast and production firms with existing work safety and health standards, the agency would always have to ask first for the schedules and locations of the tapings and shootings.

“Our agreement with the FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines) is that they give us the schedule of the shoots, and then we will of course ask the DOLE regional offices to conduct the inspections that is necessary,” Cucueco said.

The labor official also cited the late submission of complaints to the DOLE.

“Pag punta po ng inspector namin doon, there was one, parang nag-pack up na, wala na po sila doon (When our inspector got to the location, the production team already packed up and left),” Cucueco recalled.

“ASec, alam naman ninyo sa probinsya nabubulabog ‘yong buong taongbayan ‘pag may artista. Hindi naman kailangan may schedule na isang kilometro, pambihira. Makikita mo naman nagtitipon-tipon ang mga tao, eh (ASec., you would easily know that they are in the province because people would go crazy when actors are there. You don’t need a kilometric schedule to know),” Marcos told the DOLE official.

“I don’t think we need such a comprehensive schedule or such a long notice,” she added.

The senator added that the delay of reports was also “the government’s fault” for failing to come up with more convenient and accessible grievance mechanism.

Senator Joel Villanueva, labor committee chairman, recalled moving for a P200 million increase in the appropriation of the DOLE in previous years so its inspectors can do more site inspections.

The lawmakers asked the department to give the Senate panel a list of all the inspections it conducted.

Proposals to further protect and ensure the welfare of media workers stemmed from the labor conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and other calamities, and the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia in June, 2019, after an accident during a shooting for television series.

The DOLE said it supports the proposals to provide more protection to media practitioners.