One week has passed and the issue is still fresh to the people – the ones involved, the ones concerned and the ones affected. What has just happened last Saturday morning at the Philippine Sports Arena during the first year anniversary celebration of Wowowee struck the attention of the nation not just those who are caught up, but as well as those who are affected with the stampede. When I say those people who are affected by the rout I mean not just those who experienced physical cruelty, but most importantly those who were psychologically exploited and emotionally disturbed because of that certain incident – may these persons took part in the long queues outside the said venue for days or merely those persons who have the heart to empathize to the victims of the said stampede.
Various emotions are solicited from the said stampede. Some of the quotes I got from written reports that are made famous are the following:
“I was not even aware that ‘Wowowee’ was having its first anniversary.” — Gina Lopez, head of ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata Foundation, speaking as guest at ABS-CBN’s “Straight Talk with Cito Beltran.”
“Ayan, namatayan ako ng anak.” [There, now I have lost a child.] — a father, after finding out that his young, only daughter, whom his wife insisted on taking along, was crushed to death.
“Nagkanya-kanya, basta maka-una lang.” [It was each man for himself, trying to get ahead.] — Sen. Richard Gordon, head of the Philippine National Red Cross.
“I saw something very wrong, very, very wrong.” — Police superintendent Vidal Querol, his voice almost cracking, after he saw people stepping over the dead and clamoring for raffle tickets.
“Gusto lang namin sila mapasaya.” [We just wanted to make them happy.]
— “Wowowee” host Willie Revillame.
“Many people were still asking for raffle tickets even with all the dead around.” — a paraphrase of what TV producer Marilou Almaden told the fact-finding committee investigating the tragedy.
Yes, the ABS-CBN Management defended their side: all they want is to help the poor people thus to make them happy. If you would see it in one perspective, the intention is so good, helping those who are in need. But if we would look it on the other side, the management is actually promoting dependency to the people. And who are these people? The poor and the innocent ones. Really, it’s so poor for these poor ones because, among the others, they have been victims of malicious interests by certain elite who actually plan for the said anniversary. The worst thing is that the management didn’t actually pay attention the welfare of its innocent audiences.
According to a writer named Ceres Doyo, “for TV networks, it is no longer just a ratings game. It is also a crowd-drawing game, with the crowd size, queue length and shrieking decibel used as gauge of the affair’s popularity, the better for advertisers to notice. And who to draw into the queue if not the “masa” [masses]? They who have simple dreams and simple joys, they who seek momentary relief from life’s travails, so easy to please, so easy to satisfy.
It is as if these people on top are underestimating the capacity of our poor fellow Filipinos. They tend to equate poor people to money. Because the poor needs all you have to do is to solicit the attention of these poor. How? The bottomline: money.
It’s so sad that a shaking experience needs to strike us first before we realize something moral and upright. Could we not just learn from other people’s mistakes? You see, we can actually live life without having to engage to these tragic events. It would be much better, I think.