IF Congressman Mikee Romero is as good as his word, he should have filed yesterday, first day for the submission of bills, his proposal for an “Eddie Garcia law,” or the Actors Occupational Safety and Health Standard Law.
The stars in the sky are on a straight line for such a bill becoming law. Not only is Mikee’s name commonly preceded or succeeded by the phrase “the richest member of the House of Representatives,” he is also related by affinity to Manoy, being the son of Lillibeth Romero, the movie star’s partner for 30 years. On television when he confirmed news of his Tito Eddie’s death by occupational hazard, Mikee was in tears when the cameras cut away.
Another kind of star, those whose fame shines closer to us in our humdrum existence, are vocally behind the bill plus a companion proposal to nominate Manoy for a posthumous National Artist award.
It’s time for the industry to press for a law that should have been in place long ago. Or have we forgotten how in February and March 2016, in a space of six days we lost Wenn Deramas, famous for his Vice Ganda blockbusters, and Francis Pasion. Both of them were directors, both died of cardiac arrest (in Wenn’s case his condition was aggravated by grief over the passing of his sister). Director Quark Henares blamed “horrible working hours and conditions in television” for their untimely demise.
Those conditions apply not only to directors and actors but also assistant directors, stuntmen, cameramen, crew, carpenters. Most of the time, shooting or taping is done overnight or two to three days straight in out-of-town locations where it is not uncommon for stars and extras to catch their 40 winks in a car. One of the most indefatigable in the business is Gloria Romero, a contemporary of Eddie Garcia, who was her tormentor in several movies.
For this crop of dramatic talents to have remained silent for so long in the dark without an occupational-safety law to fall back on, the question is, would such a law finally give them the guts to complain to their producers about “horrible working hours and conditions” when the time comes?