Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Wowowee Stampede: Whose fault was it?

I thought last Saturday that I would have a nice weekend until a Louise, a friend, texted me about the stampede at the Ultra Stadium that killed 74 people and injured hundreds of others. The news really shocked me. It's fault-finding time so please allow me to use my own shameless and self-righteous finger.

1. The primary blame rests on ABS-CBN. They promised huge cash rewards to attract people to their anniversary show. People, nay a mob, came in droves as early as four days earlier and camped outside the venue. It was simply an accident waiting to happen.

2. The local government unit. Thousands of people were massing a few days before yet the local government officials did not do anything to "manage the situation." They could have provided temporary shelter or they could simply told them to leave and go back on the day of the show (February 4, Saturday).

3. The people who went there themselves. Let's not free them from the blame. Let's assume that they are "rational" people who were responding to an incentive, i.e. the possible cash rewards from the show, from ABS. They must have weighed the costs/risks and benefits and decided that benefits outweighed the risks. They were wrong. Well, "rational" people got it wrong sometimes. Or most of the time.

4. The government. No, its not Gloria alone but all administrations from Cory Aquino to the present for not adopting policies that could have ushered economic growth. Economic desperation must be one of the reasons why people went there hoping they could get some cash to pay for some needs. You see, economic growth is the best way to lift people out of poverty and misery. Just look at
China. In just one generation, economig growth (brought about by political stability and an economic environment conducive to private investments) has lifted about 400 million Chinese out of poverty.

3. The country's ruling economic and political elite. Who pays the right amount of tax in this country? Not our tycoons. Not our industrialists. Not the rich guys who raked in billions from the service sector (banking, telecommunications, shipping, wholesale and retail, etc). These guys enjoy fiscal incentives from the government (e.g., income tax holiday, duty-free importation of machines, low real estate tax, among many others). The ones who pay the right amoung of taxes are those who are forced to through salary deductions. If only most of us pay the right tax, this country could have developed at par with most the mores successful countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

5 comments:

Rizalist said...

Dave,
Don't you think that maybe people should also take responsibility for themselves? If they are desperately poor, was attending a game show the best they could do to provide for their families? Or was this a form of gambling. I feel sorry for the dead. But the living worries me more.

Without Borders said...

yes, they are also part of the blame. that's number three in my blame list.

Louise said...

Tragic...tragic...tragic... I couldn't describe it more Dave.

I was lamenting to a friend last December about a prevalent bad trait in our culture and that is - the "CULTURE of BEGGING".

Maybe I was triggered by the signs of the season where we normally see the sudden proliferation of such "beggars". They come in many forms: legitimate ones, persons in uniform asking for solicitations, dubious groups with ID's knocking at your doorstep, religious organizations, the lowly paid garbage collectors and even some of them are our very own displaced cultural minorities.

They come in waves of succession too, never giving some unfortunate target a much needed "Peace", when there is supposed to be "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men". :-)

It's one trait that amazes me. Why do most Pinoys chose to rely on doleouts from some fortunate individual rather than striving for the betterment of his own welfare? This fact is widely spread, seen in our very own "lucky" dependents who regularly receives remittances from our OFW's. And not only that. There is the extended family too, relying on that remittance to feed their bodies. You can see the "yabang" of these dependents. They sport the latest gadgets, some don't even give a damn about working because my "kuya", "ate", "papa" or "mama" is abroad.

It's the modern method of subtly transforming our people into dependent "tamads" and eventual beggars. It's what the show was promoting too.

Money, in the form of real dollars were being given out like candies. I see it almost everyday when I am holed in here at the house working on some drawings as usual. It was the lure that people could not resist. Real money was there, so why the heck should I bother to find work? The element of luck was very positive to the thousands who line up for a chance to see the show live everyday. The irony was, most of them were able-bodied. A very strong segment of our workforce supposedly, but the question was, the always complain, was there work outside?

I told my friend I view things pragmatically when somebody ask me some help. I hate to give out doleouts because heaven knows I sometimes do away with sleep for a week just to finish work so I can earn. In my own little way, I try to give jobs for them in my projects. Letting a person know he is capable of helping himself promotes his self-respect. In that way, he will gradually opt to find work when he is down instead of relying on doleouts or taking a chance in Lotteries and Game Shows.

I wished the show could have raffled out jobs or "livelihood programs" instead of cash. They should have left the doleouts to our Charitable Institutions. I am wishing too that may this event be a real eye-opener to our Government.

Amen.

taoharu said...

I agree with Louise. The money would have been better spent on something more redeeming and dignifying like a livelihood projects, learning centers, tree planting, community based processing plants and facilities, and other job creating projects.

Without Borders said...

louise, i totally agree with. you have a very sharp mind.