DOLE orders GMA, other parties to pay P890,000 over Eddie Garcia on-set accident

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) slapped GMA and other parties with a fine of P890,000 for labor violations in the accident that led to the death of actor Eddie Garcia in June.

The 90-year-old actor suffered a cervical spine injury on June 8 after tripping on a cable while shooting a scene for the GMA teleserye Rosang Agimat in Tondo, Manila.

Following the accident, the actor was rushed to a nearby hospital, then transferred to the Makati Medical Center where he would remain in a coma for two weeks before dying on June 20.

After an investigation, DOLE-NCR said that GMA violated the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law several times, including not providing a safety officer on location, not providing a first aid responder, and not submitting an incident report within 24 hours of the accident.

In an order signed by DOLE-National Capital Region (NCR) director Sarah Buena Mirasol, GMA was ordered to pay the P890,000 fine, along with Alpha Premier Transport Services, Gapo Special Effects Services, GMA-7 Employees Multipurpose Coop, Renteqaire Enterprises, CMB Film Services, and Shoot Digital Video.

GMA had earlier contested DOLE's findings, saying that they first gave a copy of their incident report to Garcia's family "as a matter of respect." They also argued that the "workplace" covered by the OSH law "is deemed to refer only to those places where services of the employees are regularly rendered."

But DOLE said in its resolution that “GMA should have deployed one of its safety officers in the shooting site of Rosang Agimat, which could have prevented the untimely demise of Garcia."

Garcia's death has opened a conversation on improving working conditions for entertainment industry workers.

In September, Garcia's longtime partner Lilibeth Romero "categorically" said at a Senate hearing on OSH standards that the actor's death was caused by "gross negligence and unsafe working environment and the absence of a medical team on the set." 

The Directors Guild of the Philippines, as well as Garcia's former co-star Rez Cortez, said that the actor's death is a stark reminder for the need for better safety protocols on set.

Garcia's stepson 1-Pacman Representative Mikee Romero said he plans to file a bill to safeguard the well-being of actors on set. –