The Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva conducted a public hearing last 23 September 2019. The agenda of the public hearing was to discuss legislative measures on Occupational Safety and Health in order to (a) inquire regarding the implementation of Republic Act No. 11058, otherwise known as the Occupational Safety and Healthy law; and (b) to determine whether or not there is a need to pass a new Occupational Safety and Health law specific to a certain industry.
Despite the passage of the OSH law and its IRR, there are workers who still remain vulnerable to the hazards of their workplaces. The hearing focused on the need for consistent efforts so as to assure the effectiveness of the law. In light of the death of actor Eddie Garcia, the discussion revolved on how to improve the implementation of OSH for the benefit of the industry and the workers. In its intervention, GMA 7 did not deny the allegation that there are three requirements of OSH law that they failed to comply with. However, it is their position that workplaces outside the GMA building is not covered by the law.
Furthermore, the death of Mr. Garcia served as the trigger point which led to the creation of a bill specifically for the movie and television industry. Senate Bill No. 294, otherwise known as the “Eddie Garcia Law” aims to protect the workers and talents and to avoid incidents which could lead to fatalities. In the movie and television industry, DOLE affirmed the need to clarify the terms of application of OSH. However, ECOP mentioned that it could be problematic to pass a specific bill for the movie and television industry considering that there is a high probability that other industries may also clamor for it. Undergoing such process would be tedious work as well as halt the Philippine Congress from dealing with other important matters which also need proper legislation. Therefore, it is the position of ECOP that DOLE should instead issue a department order to address the peculiarities of the industry.
Senators Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, and Francis Tolentino were present during the hearing. Alongside the Department of Labor and Employment, various organizations were also present, namely: GMA 7, ABS-CBN, People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), NAGKAISA Labor Coalition, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc (MOWELFUND).
ECOP was represented in the public hearing by Mr. Rob Maronilla, Legal Services Manager, and Ms. Jhoy Nacisvalencia, Advocacy & Research Assistant. To know more about ECOP’s engagement on occupational safety and health, you may contact Mr. Neil Don Orillaneda, Advocacy & Communications Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.