DOLE urged to create tripartite council for entertainment industry

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — A lawmaker is urging the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to create a tripartite council for the entertainment industry as passing legislation for the protection of the entertainment workers is “taking a little bit longer.”

Quezon City Rep. Christopher De Venecia raised the matter during the briefing of the proposed 2024 budget of DOLE in the committee on appropriations in the House of Representatives.

“A salient feature of the Eddie Garcia bill is to create a tripartite council for workers in the entertainment industry but that’s taking a little bit longer to be enacted,” De Venecia told DOLE officials.

“Perhaps if we can enjoin DOLE to already create one so that there’s a platform for employers and freelancers of independent contractors to be able to dialogue,” he added.

In his interpellation, De Venecia also said he received reports from filmworkers that their working hours are going back to the previous practice of long hours.

“Whatever innovations [that] were created by the pandemic and that they control their working hours, even with an absence of a Republic Act, ngayon balik sa dati [now it’s back to before], 14 hours, 16 hours, 18 hours, which is a cause of death of a lot of workers in these industries because of overwork and overstress,” he said.

In February, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 1270, known as the “Eddie Garcia Act,” which seeks to protect workers and independent contractors in the film, television, and radio entertainment industry.

It was titled after the popular Filipino actor, who died in June 2019 due to an accident while filming a television series.

The proposed measure will require DOLE to form a tripartite council but Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio Jr. said an administrative issuance from the agency would suffice to create an industry tripartite council.

“We will take serious note of that and we will evaluate the situation, particularly considering that there is sectoral representation in this case and we would have to identify sectoral organizations who can send us nominees to represent the sector in that tripartite council,” Bitonio said.