05 February 2006

'Wowowee' Tragedy: Reactions, Causes, and Why?

By this time, you probably heard already of the freak tragedy that happened early yesterday morning. We can't even get an accurate number of the total casualties. First, it was 88, then 93, then 73, and finally, as I'm posting this, it is now 74 dead. But it does not matter how many people perished, the point is there were people who perished.

I noticed that majority of those who died were women. Whatever happened to the gentlemen? Were they the first to push, leave, and run away?

After the dust has settled, here are some of the immediate reactions from local bloggers:
  • Sassy Lawyer - "....parents should take more responsibility over their children. It just isn’t responsible to take 4-year-olds camping at the ULTRA to watch a game show. It’s so sad that they don’t even consider that they may just be being used by networks to prove the networks’ popularity and their commercial viability to advertisers."

  • NocturnalAngel - ".....what's even more chilling is the fact that others stayed on after the stampede, waving to the cameras, hoping to still get into the auditorium to win the money."

  • Jon Limjap - "If this were a case study in marketing, ABS-CBN must have been doing something right. They have successfully bred a culture of dependence that entice millions of people to watch the show and thousands to regularly attempt to join its audience for a chance to play."

  • RonAllan -".... it is poverty, greed, commercialism and lack of foresight which caused the tragedy. Personally, I don't really care for events offering such exorbitant prizes. I believe it encourages laziness, mendicancy and freeloading among the poor, which is quite pathetic since not everyone can win."

  • GemBBM - "This is really sad. Over 60 dead because of the stampede! Only shows how desperate Filipinos are nowadays."

  • Sassymoon - "Kawawa naman ang mga taong ito. Biktima sila ng kahirapan. Biktima sila ng mga pangyayari. Wala silang maasahang tulong, kaya kapit sa patalim sila. Ito nga naman ang pagkakataong magkapera nang hindi ka magnanakaw o gagawa ng ilegal."

  • Unsentpostcards - "I have seen winners cry their hearts out on-air after winning the one million jackpot. And in all honesty, I really feel happy for them. In a society where earning a decent living is often a daily struggle for the almost anyone, Wowowee represents the great opportunity. A possible break from the monotomy of poverty."

What causes a human stampede?

Some say it is a biologic impulse of herd animals. Human stampedes are usually observed during religious pilgrimages and professional sporting events. It seems that panic is panic, whatever the nationality involved. A trigger (someone shouting "bomb!" or "fire!" will do) usually begins the melee.

How does a human stampede kill?

Horribly! I heard an eyewitness being interviewed on late night TV news who said she watched a companion beside her go into "death spasms" as they were crushed by the heavy load of people pressing on them. It was a miracle she survived.

The technical term for the immediate cause of death in a stampede is "compressive asphyxia" according to Crowd Dynamics. A pile of bodies 10 feet high can produce fatal chest pressures of 800-900lbs (urgh!). It is like being rolled over by a big truck or sat on by a young female elephant. Mamamatay ka talaga! [You will surely die!]

But hey, let's not kid each other. Those are technical reasons you give in a classroom. If you ask me, I agree with most of the local bloggers above. Those 74 people died because of immense desperation to get out of the poverty they have long endured.

Taos puso po akong nakikiramay sa mga kamag-anak ng mga nasawi. Namamatay tayo sa unos, sa baha, sa lindol, sa pakikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa, pero ang pagkasawi sa sariling bayan sa mga kadahilanang gaya nito ay hindi lamang malungkot kung hindi nakapagdadala din nang labis na poot sa ating mga puso. Kaawa-awa naman talaga tayo.

9 reactions:

BabyPink said...

tunay na nakalulungkot na pangyayari...:(

Dr. Emer said...

Definitely. Also, this makes me fume.

Rizalist said...

I think you are quite right that there was "immense desperation" on the part of those in the crowd. But what they were desperately trying to do -- get out of poverty -- can't possibly be unique to the 50,000 or so that were reported to have been present. There were millions more on that same morning, equally desperate to get out of poverty, but THEY were not at the Ultra that morning trying to get into a game show for giveaways and a chance for a house and lot. Maybe they were at the local Lotto or jueteng Lord's place, or maybe they were toiling away at some menial but honorable job.

Some people have called those who died "martyrs" -- I think that is a bit of a stretch on the part of bleeding heart liberals.

I think this was a tragedy in a different sense than that it was preventable. I think it was classic display of what game theorists call, the Tragedy of the Commons.

Mec said...

sorry, pero the news angered me lang talaga... hindi ako makaramdam ng awa...

i think lang, it's time to let the Filipinos who let themselves be caught in such situations be held responsible... i mean, until when are we going to point fingers when it's us where the change should happen?

melai said...

For mec,

kelan naman titigilan ang pagturo ng daliri sa mga biktima ng kahirapan?
sisisihin pa ba ang mga taong ginamit at patuloy na ginagamit para lang kumita pa ng mas malaki ang isang T.V station? konti ang isang milyon at isa o dalawang sasakyan na ipamimigay ng wowowee kumpara sa kinikita nila sa mga advertisers at kokonti ang 10 dollars na pinamimigay sa joke joke joke kumpara sa patuloy na nalilimos ng programa sa mga tfc subscriber.

eye said...

it's all been done, even noli de castro and charo santos' apologies and explanations cannot bring back the lives of those victims. it's a shame that television networks have to resort to this type of shameless plug to lure audiences for their personal gains. like melai said, they are earning millions and could easily help the poor in thousands of other ways.

anne said...

sa lahat po ng nagluluksang mga kababayan natin nakikiramay po kami... nakakasikip man sa dibdib isipin ang mga nangyayari sa mundo, wala tayong magagawa tapos na all we need to do is accept it. I do believe i'ts god's will...there's a reason behind kung bakit na hinahayaan nyang mangyari mga bagay na 'to. Or maybe nagpaparamdam lang ang ama sa'tin baka nakakalimot na po taung tumawag sa kanya. Lahat ng bagay nagmumula sa diyos kaya una sa lahat dapat nating gawin magtiwala at wag tayong makalimot sa kanya. Minsan kahit anong kayod ang gawin natin kung wala naman tayong pananampalataya sa diyos wala rin nangyayari. Ano bang bagay ang hindi kayang ibigay ng diyos mga kapatid...? Sana wag po tayong makakalimot manalangin...'yan lang ang pinakambisa nating pananggalang sa buhay.. GO BLESS!!!

Dr. Emer said...

Rizalist and Mec: You two represent two sides of the spectrum. I love the blaming game. It has to be played in catastrophes like this because we have a need to know who must get the ax. Someone has to pay for all the lives that were lost. Dying has always been a very passionate topic for me. I still believe that it was immense desperation that killed those 74 people. I agree that better crowd control would have prevented the big number of casualties (Dean) and that people should do better things than join silly contests (Mec). But in a country like ours, bad habits are difficult to erase. It is almost a certainty that many more deaths like this will occur in the future.

Melai and Eye: The poor always get the bad part of the deal. Most of the time, it's not just bad but worse.

Anne: Prayers can also inspire change.

George Carlos Pastor said...

dunno if any of you noticed, but the show is still on the air!!! what the hell is wrong with this network? do they just whitewash over the whole incident? sure they've made the show "safer", but that doesn't mean that they've taken out the crappy content that the original victims fell for! unless at the level of the viewer there is action, we cannot expect a solution. abs-cbn will not just cancel a show with great ratings due to conscience! you'd have to be extremely stupid to believe that! the only language they listen to is the sound of money, rustling in their pockets!