Dolly de Leon renews call for passage of ‘Eddie Garcia Bill’ to protect workers like her

August 2, 2023 - 5:49 PM
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Dolly de Leon
Actress Dolly de Leon as a jury in the 2023 Binibining Pilipinas in this photo credited to @misskeithmanila as posted on the actress' Instagram on May 29, 2023 (dollyedeleon/Instagram)

Golden Globes and BAFTA nominee Dolly de Leon renewed calls for the government to pass the “Eddie Garcia Bill” which gives legally recognized protection to workers and independent contractors of the film and television industry.

The veteran actress was asked by the media if she had any unsolicited advice or requests to the government during the launch of the 2023 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival last July 5.

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Dolly answered that her wish was for “Eddie Garcia Bill” to be passed in Congress so that their work conditions in the entertainment industry “will be healthy.”

“Kailangan na kailangan naming mga actors and filmmakers ‘yun,” she said.

“That’s also the help that we need from the government, na matapos na ‘yang ‘Eddie Garcia Bill’ na ‘yan at ipasa na ‘yan. Para protektado kaming lahat,” the veteran actress added.

Dolly also urged the government to support local filmmakers financially, adding that it is done in other countries.

“Noong nag-shoot ako ng ‘Triangle of Sadness’ sa Sweden, noong pinaguusapan namin ng mga tao dun ‘yung pano ginagawa ‘yung films dito, sinasabi ko lagi na private companies, gulat na gulat sila,” she said.

“Shocked na shocked sila dahil lahat ng pelikula nila doon, may funding ng gobyerno,” the acclaimed actress added.

“I know that the government, siyempre, they need to have a return of investment no, and that’s natural, of course. And it will be returned if they give the ample amount of funding to the films because that’s the only way, para mapansin tayo — if it’s really funded properly,” Dolly said.

This was not the first time the award-winning actress called for the swift passage of the “Eddie Garcia Bill.”

Last April, she tagged the Twitter account of the Senate and told them to pass the bill.

Dolly also demanded for background actors (or extras) to have a pay raise last February.

“The talents or extras get as little as P500 per day, and they are made to wait out in the sun with cardboard boxes as chairs. They get treated like garbage,” she said in a magazine interview before.

The actress started as out as a background actor herself and eventually bagged supporting roles, until her breakthrough at the Oscar-nominated satire “Triangle of Sadness.”

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“That needs to change. Big corporations have the budget to pay their big stars, so why don’t they have the budget to pay the background actors?” Dolly said before.

The ‘Eddie Garcia Bill’ 

The “Eddie Garcia Bill” was crafted after veteran actor Eddie Garcia lost his life 12 days after accidentally tripping over a cable while filming the now-shelved series “Rosang Agimat” in 2019.

This caused the 90-year-old to fracture his neck and fall into a coma, leading to his death.

The incident prompted Rep. Michael Romero (1-PACMAN party-list) to file House Bill 7762 to “protect and promote the welfare of workers or independent contractors in the film, television, and radio entertainment industry.”

The bill requires film, television and theater industries to “provide a safe workplace for all its workers and employers.”

“Workplace safety and health protocols shall be primordial to eliminate personal injuries, illness or even death from occurring inside the workplace,” Romero said in an explanatory note before.

The bill also states that normal working hours for entertainment industry workers would be limited to eight hours a day and can only be extended for a maximum of 12 hours.

Work rendered beyond eight hours must be compensated with overtime pay and other benefits provided under existing law.

Employees would also be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), the Home Development Mutual Fund or the Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) upon employment.

The bill also states that employers must provide basic necessities, including meals every six hours, enough safe drinking water, PWD-friendly and gender-considerate restrooms, private dressing rooms, safe holding areas, free accommodation in out-of-town services, and a dedicated vehicle for emergencies.

The bill passed the lower chamber’s third and final reading last February.

Rep. Arjo Atayde (Quezon City, First District) previously said he has been working on the bill’s full passage into law.

However, he acknowledged that there had been a supposed imbalance between actors and producers, much like the ongoing strike in Hollywood.