As I said before: Philippines, beware the cusp of Capricorn into Aquarius. I don't know why - but for some odd cosmic reason, this country always seems stormy during the first quarter of every year. But yet, I never EVER would have expected this. And in any other situation, I would have let the rest of the blogosphere analyze this tragic situation ad nauseum on their own, but I really couldn't ignore it this time. The only reason being that I live literally five minutes away by foot from the area where the stampede occured. Luckily, since I saw the crowds already swell from a small group on Tuesday afternoon to ridiculous proportions by Thursday night; I decided to spend Friday night at the Living Room in Malate just so I could avoid the traffic out of the neighborhood. Then, by Saturday morning, I recieved that fateful text and once again, the Philippines had become the poster child for countries where the wretched poverty of both pocket and the soul can claim lives to the tune of a million pesos, a motorized pedicab, or chance to watch some half-naked brown skinned soft porn star sing. Shame. Shame. Shame.
One. Shame to ABS CBN for exploiting the public through a no brainer show that easily appeals to the lowest denominator of a desperate people. Why give away cash and cheap polluting motorcycle cabs instead of scholarships? And why the sexy dancers while doing it? And worst of all, after the tragedy, why in heavens name did you have advertisements air between segments of "Alay Sa Kapamilya"? If "Alay.." was supposed to be your apology and appeal to viewers for forgiveness, airing ads only revealed your true intent: To earn revenue and to increase ratings. Sickening. Just sickening. Two. Shame to Willie Revillame and all his showbiz ilk for not only their crass ways, but also from earning their living and increasing their public profile through the promotion of a mendicancy mentality and a beggar culture. Three. Shame to the Pasig Local Government for letting ABS CBN get away their half assed organization and non-existent security contingency. Five. Shame to all the members in the crowd who let their greed and lack of sensitivity allow elderly women and children to die, not just in the name of money - but for EASY money at that. I'm sure these are the same people who were INSISTING that the show go on despite the tragedy. Poverty is NO excuse for such shockingly inhuman behaviour. And lastly, shame to all of us who know better for letting this macabre situation fester within our society by not speaking up and by not doing anything to alleviate poverty on a personal level. Really, how much do the most offended of you out there REALLY pay your maid? And in advance, shame to all of us once again for forgetting that this thing ever happened within the next couple months. Can anyone here give me the exact date of the Payatas Landslide? I am truly ashamed of myself and the society I come from today. I really wish that ABS CBN would STOP saying on air that this event brought out the best in us because it really was the worst in us that let this happen in the first place.
Bottom line: Someone (or more) from the Pasig Local Government and from ABS CBN should go to jail for this crime of neglect and set an example for accountability. Unless of course, ABS CBN cuts some deal with the government in exchange for getting off easy and perhaps laying off the anti-administration rhetoric for a while. I know it's a cynical way of looking at things. But crazier deals have been struck before.
And for those of you out there who blame Gloria for all this, get f****** real. That's just stupid. Really.
Thank you CBS NEWS for the link and the photo.