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Showbiz workers reveal lack of benefits during Congress hearing

Ice Seguerra and Bembol Roco exposed the dismal working conditions of entertainment workers in the country.

Entertainment workers Ice Seguerra and Bembol Roco became emotional as they exposed the dismal working conditions in local showbiz.

During the hearing of several bills following the death of screen veteran Eddie Garcia, Seguerra and Roco revealed the sad state of showbiz workers in the country.

Seguerra, a former child star, couldn’t help but cry while recalling his experiences and those of the extras whom he said were abused and have no outlet for their complaints.

“Sa init ng araw nasa ilalim lang ho kami ng payong, nakaupo, walang maayos na lugar. Medyo nag-level up para sa mga artista but unfortunately for the extras, it’s like this. Until now they come to the set earlier than all of us but you see them sitting in cardboard boxes. Wala man lang upuan, walang merienda minsan. It’s hard because they’re there because they are very passionate about what they do. They love what they do. We love what we do and that’s why there’s a tendency for us to be abused because we love what we do and hindi kami nagrereklamo about it but mahal na mahal namin,” Seguerra said.

Ice also recalled how in the past paramedics were not deployed during shoots and live events until the Wowowee stampede in 2006 that killed 73 people.

“Before, wala talagang standby na paramedic. Nangyari lang na nagkaroon na because nangyari ‘yung Wowowee stampede. Marami babagsak, marami nagkakasakit,” he said.

However, he also expressed happiness that in time of the industry’s 100th year anniversary, Congress has started to do something for the showbiz workers and their concerns are now being recognized.

“I’m just very happy on its 100th year, finally, we’re seeing some hope. Finally, we are recognized as workers, as an industry… Unfortunately, actors can’t really say much. They’re bound by contract by these big networks and they can’t say anything because there’s a gag order,” Ice said.

Meanwhile, veteran actor Bembol Roco also echoed Seguerra’s views saying showbiz workers like Lino Brocka and Behn Cervantes were already doing something back then and fighting for the artist’s rights.

“Binibigyan niyo ng importansya ngayon ‘yung aming kalagayan. Noon pa man early ’80s, sila Lino Brocka, sila Behn Cervantes, have been trying to make this happen. Pero hindi nakakuha ng sapat na suporta. Hanggang ngayon eh ganun pa rin ang sitwasyon,” Bembol said.

“Hindi naman kami humihingi nang hindi sapat sa amin. Fairness lang. Medyo naabuso kaming lahat sa pamamahala ng networks, ng producers na gan’un ang sistema na walang working hours. It’s crazy to think na meron palang gan’ung trabaho walang limit sa oras,” he added.


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