Advocating for the welfare of hard-working Filipinos across different sectors, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go takes pride in the recent enactment of a law that will significantly bolster labor protection for workers in the movie and television industries.

On Tuesday, May 28, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11996, also known as the “Eddie Garcia Law,” named after the late cinema legend. Go is a co-author of the measure.

Regarding the law’s passage, Go expressed his profound respect for the entertainment sector’s contributions to Philippine culture and the economy.

“The film and entertainment industry not only entertains but also captures the essence of Filipino life and molds our national identity. With the enactment of the Eddie Garcia Law, we ensure that the rights and welfare of those who work behind the scenes and on-screen are adequately protected,” Go stated.

Go highlighted the comprehensive nature of the new law, which mandates fair work hours, proper wages, and other non-wage benefits. It also emphasizes workers’ inclusivity and fair treatment regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.

“This law marks a crucial step in recognizing the dignity of all entertainment workers. It ensures they are valued not just as artists but as essential contributors to our society,” he added.

The senator, who played a crucial role in pushing for the bill as a co-author, also pointed out the collaborative effort involved.

“I extend my gratitude to all my colleagues for their unwavering support. This is a victory for our beloved industry workers, the unsung heroes whose resilience shone brightly, especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The legislation also establishes a tripartite council, ensuring ongoing dialogue and cooperation among government, employers, and workers.

Go also reiterated his commitment to the health and safety of industry workers. “As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, I am particularly pleased that the Eddie Garcia Law aligns with existing health and safety laws, such as the Mental Health Act and Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law.

“It’s crucial that we also focus on the mental well-being of our workers who, day in and day out, dedicate themselves to their craft and our entertainment,” he added.

Finally, Go reassured industry workers of his ongoing advocacy for their rights and well-being.

“To all my brothers and sisters in the movie and entertainment industry, know that my support for you is steadfast. Together, we will continue championing initiatives that safeguard your rights and acknowledge your invaluable role in our society,” he concluded.

The senator also continues to advocate for the passage of his proposed Senate Bill No. 1183 or the “Media and Entertainment Workers Welfare Act.” This proposal aims to provide enhanced protection, security, and incentives for media workers in the country across all platforms.

The bill includes provisions for additional health insurance coverage, overtime and night differential pay, hazard pay, and other benefits to safeguard the rights and welfare of media workers if enacted into law.

On May 26, Go was honored with the Jinseo Arigato “Champion of Life Hero of the Year” award at the Jinseo Arigato International Film Festival Awards Night in Nagoya, Japan. The honor recognizes the impact of Go’s dedication to lift the quality of lives of Filipinos by initiating measures for more accessible health care, among others.

Go is also a member of the MMFF Executive Committee. Recognizing the exposure needed by Filipino filmmakers under the festival’s single annual event, he proposed the creation of the Metro Manila Summer Film Festival, providing a second yearly platform for showcasing quality Filipino movies and supporting the growth of the country’s film industry. He also continues to support MMFF’s efforts of promoting local films as it now celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Addressing the significance of the entertainment industry, Go assured his full support for Filipino filmmakers and the cultural value they add both locally and internationally.

“Your creativity and dedication reflect the rich talent and potential of the Filipino people. Rest assured, I will continue to support the Filipino film and entertainment industry, recognizing its immense potential,” said Go.

“Suportado ko ang ating magagaling na artista at pati ang mga trabahante sa likod at harap ng kamera. Bukas ang aking opisina sa inyo at tutulong ako sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya bilang inyong Mr. Malasakit na ang tanging bisyo ay magserbisyo sa inyong lahat,” he ended.