Yesterday, the country woke up to startling news. 79 people were trampled to death while queueing up for a chance to be on a gameshow. Reports say as much as 100,000 people flocked to the Pasig coliseum to take part in the 1st anniversary of Wowowee, a hugely popular noontime show, in hopes that they would win the P1 Million being given away that day. How very sad that a day that was supposed to be one of rejoicing turned out to be one of tragedy. Many of those caught in the stampede were senior citizens, some of them coming from far-off provinces who had patiently spent 2-3 nights holding their place in the line just so they'd be sure to get in once the gates opened.
This only serves to emphasize how badly people are being hit by poverty nationwide. For so many to pin their hopes on a gameshow reveals the sordid state of the nation thus far. Still, though, it gladdened my heart to see an outpouring of sympathy and pledges of help for both the survivors and the families of those who had lost a loved one. Celebrities, politicians and ordinary folk stopped by the coliseum, the hospitals and morgues to offer their condolences and financial assistance regardless of how meager their contributions might be. I just hope our politicians don't take this as an opportunity to grandstand and once again call for the president to step down. That'll be another severe blow to a currently slowly improving economy.