MANILA -- Lilibeth Romero, the long-time partner of filmdom’s beloved icon Eddie Garcia, hailed the passage of the "Eddie Garcia Act" on final reading by the House of Representatives as his greatest trophy and gift to the entertainment industry.
“He had many trophies and recognition in his lifetime but this is his best and greatest trophy because it is his gift to all the people in the entertainment industry who will benefit from it," Romero told ABS-CBN News Wednesday. “I am happy that they passed it but also sad because he is no longer with us.”
House Bill 7762, or the “Eddie Garcia Act,” was unanimously passed during the lower chamber’s session Tuesday, with House members voting 235-0-0.
Romero’s son, House Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Party-list Representative Michael "Mikee" Romero, is one of the authors of the bill which aims to protect and promote the welfare of workers and independent contractors in the film, television and other allied sectors in the entertainment industry.
It includes provisions on the workers’ wages, social security benefits, standard treatment on the set, health and safety protocols, insurance and settlement of disputes and other labor-related matters.
The first version of this bill was filed last year following Garcia’s death after he tripped and fell on the set of a GMA Network series in June 2019. He was 90.
In her full statement released to ABS-CBN News, Romero said the bill’s passage had mitigated their family’s loss.
“The untimely death of Eddie Garcia caused me and the family untold pain and sorrow, but the enactment of the Eddie Garcia Bill, which guarantees the protection of his colleagues in the industry against unsafe working conditions, will somehow assuage our deep loss.
"We can expect that in the future, the production companies will learn to take responsibility for their actions and/or the lack of it.
"My heartfelt thank you to those who painstakingly investigated Eddie’s fatal accident -- chairman, Committee on Labor Cong. Eric Pineda, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, Cong. Raymond Mendoza, Cong. Toff de Venecia, Cong. Rufus Rodriguez and all the members of the HOR, the resource persons from the different entertainment guilds and organizations.
"I am humbled to say that he still remains to be the most awarded movie actor in real and reel life in the history of the Philippine cinema industry!"
The veteran interior designer is looking forward to the bill’s passage into law after it is forwarded to the Senate where a similar bill authored by Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is pending.
Romero also told ABS-CBN News that it is time to let go of some of Garcia’s extensive wardrobe which she is still keeping at their home in Alabang.
She exclaimed: “Ang dami! At malalaki! Mga barong, suits and pants, I plan to donate some of them; the others I will reserve for a museum in his honor!”