Eddie Garcia's death not in vain, says partner

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 04:51 PM

Lilibeth Romero and Eddie Garcia. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The long-time partner of the late actor Eddie Garcia on Monday said the veteran TV and movie star did not die in vain, as she vowed to push for a law that would guarantee the safety of actors and workers in the entertainment industry.

Garcia, 90, died last June after suffering a neck fracture which he sustained while shooting a TV series for GMA Network.

The veteran actor’s death in the workplace prompted lawmakers to file the proposed “Eddie Garcia Law” to uphold the rights of entertainment industry workers.

Lilibeth Romero told a Senate panel the proposed law would ensure that Garcia’s death would have a greater meaning.

“By doing so, [I will] make the whole Philippines understand that Eddie Garcia’s death will not be sacrificed in vain,” Romero said.

“If it takes his untimely death to prevent future threats to actors, stuntmen and others inside the various production sets of television, film and movie industries, then I, together with the members of the Garcia family, will fight until the end to get the rights and the protection of his colleagues in place.”

Romero added, her late partner would have supported the proposed measure.

“Kung ang pagkamatay ni Eddie Garcia ang magsisilbing gabay para wala ng peligro o panganib na mangyari sa loob at labas ng produksyon, then ito rin po ang huling kagustuhan ni Eddie Garcia,” she said.

“Naniniwala ako sa kasabihang it’s better safe than sorry and prevention is better than cure. It’s better to be cautious with one’s actions than to feel remorse after one’s carelessness.”

Romero also blasted GMA Network for its “gross negligence and unsafe working environment and the absence of a medical team on the set.”

In response to negative findings by the labor department, GMA Network said last week it complied with the rules and regulations on the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) law with respect to Garcia's case. 

In a press statement, GMA Network said the OSH's Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) requiring certified safety officers in workplaces only refers to "those places where services of the employees are regularly rendered." 

The network said the IRR "cannot expand the coverage of the law to include temporary, moving, or shifting locations," and that "extending said requirement of the law through the IRR to all temporary taping locations would unreasonably burden the industry." 

Garcia had been part of the Philippine entertainment industry since the early 1950s, portraying both lead characters and villains in action, comedy, drama, and even fantasy films and television series.

His last project with ABS-CBN was in the Coco Martin-led primetime teleserye "Ang Probinsyano," portraying a drug lord. He bid farewell to the role last February.