Go pushes welfare of entertainment workers

The Philippine Star
Go pushes welfare of entertainment workers
Sen. Bong Go talks to singers Pops Fernandez and Martin Nievera on the sidelines of the third and final reading of the Eddie Garcia bill at the Senate on Monday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go yesterday lauded the approval of Senate Bill 2505, better known as the Eddie Garcia bill, on the third and final reading last Monday.

The bill seeks to protect movie and television workers from unfair treatment and poor working conditions. The bill was proposed following the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia after he accidentally tripped on a cable while on the set of a television show in 2019.

During his speech explaining his affirmative vote for the measure, Go – a co-author of the bill – acknowledged the important role of the sector in shaping the nation’s culture through artistic expression while also contributing to the local economy.

“As part of the labor force, this industry has been vital in shaping and reflecting the culture of our society. The industry serves as a powerful medium for storytelling, entertainment, and other artistic expression,” he said.

Go, a member of the Metro Manila Film Festival executive committee, recognized the limited exposure of the annual MMFF for Filipino filmmakers. He proposed an expansion in 2019, which led to the creation of the Metro Manila Summer Film Festival, where he met Garcia.

Go extended his gratitude to Lilibeth Romero, long-time partner of the actor, and the artists present during the bill’s third reading.

Aside from artists, Go stressed the resilience of industry workers behind the scenes, especially during the COVID pandemic, when they risked their health to “provide Filipinos with entertainment and amusing contents.”

In addition to labor protections, the proposed Eddie Garcia Law also mandates compliance with existing health and safety laws such as the Mental Health Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law.

Go said the bill also creates a movie and television industry tripartite council comprised of representatives from the government, employers and workers in the film and television industry.

“The council will serve as a continuing forum for consultation with industry stakeholders,” Go noted.

Go, a Senate committee on public information member, is also pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1183 or the Media and Entertainment Workers Welfare Act he filed earlier. This proposed measure aims to provide enhanced protection, security and incentives for media workers in the country across all platforms.

The bill includes provisions for additional health insurance coverage, overtime and night differential pay, hazard pay and other benefits to safeguard the rights and welfare of media workers.

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