I awoke Saturday morning. Still groggy. Suddenly, our home radio announced this chilling incident that happened at the Philsports Arena (Ultra). "Stampede happened at the Ultra. 79 people feared dead, hundreds injured.", the radio announcer said.
Apparently, there were hundreds of people who lined up at the gates for days just to attend the (opening scheduled yesterday noon) popular noontime show Wowwowee aired by Channel 2. Wowowee was known to give tremendous amounts of prices - appliances and cash (even dollars from attending "balikbayans") to the show's attendees. These people might have been thinking that since yesterday was to be the first anniversary presentation of the game show, a lot of prices would be given to all. This may well have enticed thousands of the show's supporters to try their luck, line up before the gates and wait patiently since Wednesday.
The news reported that there were people at the back pushing forward in a mad scramble to enter the gates which were supposed to be opened at around 6 (I have heard from the news). But six o'clock came and still the gates were closed; the security guards have not received any orders yet to open the gates, or so I've heard from the news. Based from what were reported, clearly there were insufficient preparations made to organize everything.
Security could have been enforced strictly to make the crowd line up from all sides. Somebody could have announced through large speakers to pacify the pushing people and tell them that the gates will be opened at a later time (but apparently, reports have said that loud music were blaring from the speakers, drowning the crushed people's cries for help).
But I know it's easier to say "line up people". It's quite hard to enforce it, especially to a huge crowd of mixed people - die-hard fans, the naughty playful people (who have nothing good to do but push and do pranks to others), the elderly people (oh no), and even the small children (that their parents would carry with them). In any huge event like this, such a raucous crowd will hardly be contained if everyone has made up their mind to "get inside no matter what happens".
I've been in such a crowd. I have experienced being "almost crushed" in a sea of moving people. In one momentous event during the final UAAP basketball game between DLSU and UST, me and my other classmates patiently lined and waited to enter the coliseum, only to find out that there were no more spaces left to allow other attendees inside. This caused an uproar among the student supporters. Some people at the back started to push those in front, causing a human domino effect. Female students were shouting, trying to cry out to stop people from crushing them. Invectives were thrown to one another during that panic moment. Luckily, I survived that ordeal together with my classmates. Somehow, we have managed to enter the venue unscathed during the last few minutes of the game.
Why did these people flock to attend the noontime show? Why did they behave like this (the mad scramble to enter the gates)? Somebody pointed out to me that it's all because of money. These people (mostly the poor ones) were hoping to at least receive a small amount of cash from the show. As a fanatic said in the news, "Walang uuwing luhaan dito sa Wowwowee (No one would be leaving the show sad)". These people were looking to fulfill their hopes and dreams from this show which promises everyone happiness through prizes.
So does "this" reflect the real situation and poverty level in the country? I guess so. No, it is. It's a slap to many, especially to the government which still thinks that the economy is getting better and better as statistics show. So how would you explain this large number of attendees yesterday - all waiting and all trying to get in? It's not for the show's host (or other stars to oggle and cry out for). It's for the money.
Money to be able to survive another day.
Let's pray for the souls of the departed.
My blog. My class.
- ▼ February (10)