Leo Martinez opposes Senate version of Eddie Garcia Bill

Leo Martinez
Leo Martinez —IMDB.COM PHOTO

Veteran actor and comedian Leo Martinez is not happy with Senate Bill No. 2505, otherwise known as the Eddie Garcia Bill. 

“I do not support it,” Martinez said, adding that he is in favor of the House of Representatives’ version of the measure. Martinez is known for his alter ego, “Tongressman Manhik Manaog,” and was for some 20 years the director general of the Film Academy of the Philippines.

SB 2505 seeks “to protect and support movie and television workers from unfair treatment and poor working conditions,” according to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, its main sponsor. 

2 provisions

Martinez cited two provisions concerning work hours and remuneration rights for his negative reaction. 

The bill provides that regular work hours on film shoots and television taping sessions will be 8-14 hours a day, exclusive of meal time. Martinez is strongly against this. “No to 14 hours of work,” he said. “Adding two hours for meal breaks, that will be 16 hours on the set, and it does not count the egress of the crew who still needs to return the equipment to the offices of the supplier.”

The bill also proposes that the first two hours for the application of special effects such as prosthetics not be considered work hours. To this, Martinez said: “The application of makeup and especially prosthetics is a burden that the actor endures at the instruction of the employer. Why not include this in the working hours? If an actor needs two hours for makeup and prosthetics and does 14 hours maximum allowable hours, he would work for 16 hours straight excluding meal periods.”

For Tirso Cruz III, actor and head of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, “14 is good [but] inclusive of lunch and dinner breaks.”

The Inter Guild Alliance, the umbrella organization of the different guilds in the industry, proposed a maximum16-hour work day inclusive of meal breaks, with the count starting when the first person arrives on the set and ending with the tail lights, when the last person leaves the set. 

On matters of remuneration rights, Section 25 of the bill recognizes that a worker shall be paid additional compensation for every subsequent use or broadcast of a performance or intellectual property. However, the same section states: “Nothing herein shall prevent the worker from agreeing to transfer all intellectual property rights in favor of the employer or principal.”

Martinez, who chairs the board of trustees of the Performers’ Rights Society of the Philippines, wants the statement deleted. “We have acceded to the Beijing Treaty for Audiovisual Performances without reservations,” he said. The treaty provides for the right to remuneration in exchange for the transfer of all exclusive rights.” He said the “unless” provision means “a performer can no longer prevent the use of his work product. Once the exclusive rights are transferred, the producer has all the authority needed to exhibit or cause the broadcast of the film or program.”

Tripartite Council

House Bill No.1270, which was approved on Feb. 23, 2023, provides that “normal work hours shall be eight (8) hours a day, which can be extended to a maximum of twelve (12) hours, served intermittently or continuously, exclusive of meal periods.” However, it adds, “permissible working hours in excess of the normal work hours shall be determined by the Tripartite Council.”  

Th House cited Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code as basis for the provision “that a performer shall enjoy the inalienable right to participate in the gross proceeds of any subsequent use or broadcasting of such performance or intellectual property to the extent of five percent (5%) as additional remuneration.”

A bicameral session to unite the two versions of the bill is yet to be scheduled. But Martinez said he would initiate a strong lobby before the bicameral session for the adoption of the House version, specifically in the two provisions that he opposes.

Other industry insiders are looking forward to the creation of the Tripartite Council to help fill the gaps in the legislation.

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