Labor Dept. maintains GMA violated law in Eddie Garcia case

Eddie Garcia | Inquirer.net photo

GMA Network is liable for the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment-Occupational Safety and Health (DoLE-OSH) said on Thursday, September 19.

The network earlier on Monday, September 16, filed a comment based on DOLE’s preliminary findings in the investigation on the incident involving the late actor, which stated that the network allegedly committed three violations under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) law: failure to submit an incident report within 24 hours, employ or designate a safety officer, and employ or designate a certified first aider.

According to GMA, it initially gave a copy of the results of its internal investigation to the family of Garcia as a matter of respect and thereafter voluntarily submitted a copy to DOLE on July 5, in compliance with the law and its IRR. 

It also noted that, under IRR, a case of “work accidents resulting in disabling injury or death” is an exception to the requirement that a report be made within 24 hours from the occurrence.

The network also confirmed that it had sufficient number of DOLE-certified safety officers catering to its employees. It added that the “workplace” under the OSH law refers only to those places where services of the employees are regularly rendered, and that the IRR cannot expand the coverage of the law to include temporary, moving or shifting locations.

GMA also claimed there were three members of the production staff who have completed the Philippine Red Cross’ lecture demonstration on First Aid and Basic Life Support-CPR present on the location site the day of the accident.

On June 8, Garcia tripped on a cable wire and hit his head on the pavement during a shoot for “Rosang Agimat,” an upcoming TV series on GMA, and was left in a coma. Twelve days later, he was pronounced dead at the age of 90.

OSH Director Noel Binag, however, said that there was no truth to the network’s claim that the taping of its television series was not permanent, meaning it was not subject to inspection.

In an interview with The Manila Times, he said, “Because their shooting happened in Tondo, they’re claiming it’s not a workplace. But it’s very clear in our IRR (implementing rules and regulations) that all economic activity is already a workplace. So, they cannot claim that.”

Binag also debunked GMA’s claim that it had safety officers and certified first aid responders and equipment to transport victims, pointing out that GMA did not submit a post-program to the DOLE that would support its claim that they had safety officers in place.

“Obviously, again in the [viral] video that appeared, they did not have any [first aid equipment],” he added.

Binag further noted that GMA committed the most serious violation by failing to report the incident to DOLE within 24 hours.

“We did not know what happened. It only came out after how many days when a viral video taken by a bystander came out [on social media],” he said. 

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