Senate Approves Bill to Protect Movie and Television Workers

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The Senate recently approved Senate Bill (SB) 2505, also known as the proposed Eddie Garcia law, on its second reading. This bill, championed by Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, aims to safeguard the rights of movie and television workers, providing them with protection against abuse, extended working hours, harassment, hazardous working conditions, and economic exploitation.

The bill is named after the late veteran actor Eddie Garcia, who tragically passed away in 2019 after sustaining a neck injury while filming for a television series. His untimely demise shed light on the need for stronger measures to ensure the safety and well-being of industry workers.

Under SB 2505, employers or principals are obligated to protect the workers in the industry. This includes providing them with fair wages, social security and welfare benefits, as well as insurance coverage.

To ensure clear communication between the worker and the employer or principal, an agreement or employment contract must be executed in a language or dialect understood by both parties. This contract should outline crucial details such as the job position and status, job description, period of employment or service, compensation and other benefits, authorized deductions (if any), working hours, and the mechanism for addressing workers’ grievances.

The bill establishes that the normal work hours should be eight hours a day, with the possibility of extending it to a maximum of 14 hours, excluding meal periods. However, it also sets a limit to the total number of work hours in a week, capping it at 60 hours, except for individuals aged 60 and above. In exceptional circumstances defined by the Tripartite Council, workers in this age group may be allowed to work beyond eight hours, but not exceeding 14 hours.

Furthermore, SB 2505 ensures that the minimum wage rates of workers or independent contractors should not fall below the applicable minimum wage in their respective regions. This provision aims to prevent unfair compensation practices and promote equitable remuneration.

Additionally, the bill guarantees that employees are entitled to social security and other benefits. This provision recognizes the importance of providing workers with the necessary support and protection, not only during their active years but also in their retirement.

It is important to note that work involving minors falls under the jurisdiction of Republic Act 9231, or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act. This law specifically addresses the unique vulnerabilities of child workers and ensures their safety and well-being.

The proposed Eddie Garcia law is a significant step towards protecting the rights of movie and television workers in the Philippines. By establishing clear guidelines and safeguards, this legislation aims to create a safer and more equitable working environment for all industry professionals. As the bill progresses through the legislative process, it is expected to bring about positive changes and set a precedent for worker protection in the entertainment industry.

Source: The Manila Times

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