Despite the cheer it has brought to generations of Filipinos across decades, the Filipino “perya” is an environment rife with exploitation, and lawmakers want to change this.
Yet, another sector rife with exploitation is the security service industry, and senators are now hearing a bill to reform the setup.
The Senate Committee on Dangerous Drugs and Public Order on Tuesday heard stakeholders on two bills, one on the perya and another on the security service industry, noting how security guards are deemed second-class workers despite the vital, protection they provide key sectors.
In his opening statement at the committee hearing, Sen. Ronald deal “Bato” Rosa said the perya, with its lights, cheerful music, and lively atmosphere, is a cherished tradition that brings us together, young and old alike, to celebrate life and create lasting memories.
Beyond its role as a source of nostalgia and entertainment, he noted that perya serves as a lifeline for many operators and their families, providing a means of livelihood in an environment where economic opportunities are scarce.
Therefore, he said, it is not a stretch to say “perya operators play a vital role in our communities, providing entertainment, joy, and a sense of camaraderie that transcends economic and social boundaries,” recalling “the entertainment we derive from the perya,” and how it evolved to be a “great equalizer.”
However, de la Rosa noted that “despite their invaluable contributions to our communities, perya operators often find themselves marginalized and vulnerable to exploitation, harassment, and unfair treatment,” lamenting that “they face challenges, such as regulatory hurdles, competition from larger establishments, and the constant threat of eviction from public spaces.”
“This is the first item on our agenda,” de la Rosa said, adding, “In light of recent complaints from perya operators regarding the alleged harassment they have been receiving from law enforcement personnel, we aim to shed light on this. We hope to send the message that, in the same way that the perya is available to all, justice, too, excludes no one, and must be applied to all. Justice should be our standard of treatment for everyone, whether senator, police personnel, or perya operator.”
Justice, too, should be applied to the security service industry, de la Rosa said.
“As we strive to build a more inclusive and equitable society, we address, in aid of legislation, the issues being faced by both our security and perya industry,” he added.
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