A NINE-HOUR hostage crisis occurred on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the V-Mall in Greenhills, San Juan in Metro Manila, when former security guard Archie Paray held around 60 to 70 employees captive while armed with a pistol and a grenade.
Paray demanded an audience before releasing the victims, after which he detailed grievances about his former employer’s alleged unfair treatment of him and his fellow guards. He cited discrimination from the management and corruption from upper-ranking guards accepting bribes
Paray was given an audience with the media but was tackled in the middle of his 20-minute speech after they saw a pistol tucked in his pants. Part of the agreement was that he would leave all the weapons behind.
Meanwhile, Greenhill’s management explained that the dismissal that led to his outburst wasn’t without precedence, as he had gone Awol in the weeks prior.
Paray’s security company also claimed that Paray wasn’t sacked, but was only assigned to a different mall. However, Paray discredited the assignment rotation as a strategy to fire officers.
Despite the situation causing a lot of panic and turmoil, it didn’t stop the pubic from sympathizing with Paray’s situation. Different reactions were shared on social media with some saying that Paray was a brave man who didn’t want to wreak terror but instead was forced to do something desperate to send a strong message. While the consensus was that his action was downright wrong, some saw it as a testament to the lengths the poor have to go through just to be heard.
Subsequently, Paray’s action can be seen as an eyeopener to the country’s treatment of workers. It shows how bad labor conditions in our country truly are. Thus the hostage situation was not all about the evil man who wanted to hurt people but rather about a working man pushed to the brink because of inhumane labor practices, such as poor wages and contractualization.
Fighting for your ideology is bravery, but sadly his act was still a crime.
Raising awareness is good, but he picked the wrong stage. Regardless, we respect his bravery for opening our eyes to this kind of issue.
Nowadays, we need people like him. He is too passionate and very dedicated to his job. All he wanted was a fair system of management for him and his fellow workers.
But the reality is we live in a cruel world, where people worship money and power. It is a reminder for all employers to give equal benefits and rights to their employees because it is their collective effort to ensure the betterment of their employees’ and their families’ lives.
Despite this, as students, we firmly believe that the Greenhills hostage taking showed the struggle against capitalism and corruption and it’s devastating to know that there are people who have to resort to this just so their voices could be heard. (By Kate Justine Paquibot & Nelson Cabreros, USJ-R sophomore students)