Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Anakpawis solons file resolution urging investigation into Ultra tragedy

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran **

* Reference* : Rep. Crispin Beltran (+63)927.871.1080

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

*Tel*. *# (+632) *931-6615 *Email*:


*NEWS RELEASE February 7, 2006 *

* *

*Anakpawis solons file resolution urging investigation into Ultra tragedy *
*Assess poverty alleviation programs, too―Rep. Beltran *

* *

As initial fact-finding results on the direct causes of the Ultra tragedy
are slated to come out today, Anakpawis Representatives Crispin Beltran and
Rafael Mariano today filed a resolution urging a more thorough investigation
into deeper and root cases of the February 4 stampede at the Ultra that left
at least 79 persons dead and hundreds injured.

The solons today filed House Resolution (HR) No. 1129, entitled, '*A
Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House for the Victims and Survivors
on the Poverty-Induced Stampede at the Philippine Sports Commission Arena on
February 4, 2006, and Calling for Recommendatory Measures to Address the
Root Causes of the Said Tragedy' *.

H.R. 1129 called for the House Special Committee on Poverty Alleviation to
conduct and investigation in aid of legislation, and to likewise assess the
flagship poverty alleviation programs and recommend other measures for the
long-term benefit of the poor.

"Any probe should identify those directly accountable for the failure of
crowd-control mechanisms and audience security. It should file the
appropriate charges, but should not stop at that. This tragedy should
likewise compel the national government to reexamine its flawed and inutile
poverty alleviation programs that contribute to the neglect of the toiling
masses. We can not just leave the welfare of the people to charity work,
grand game shows or the Lotto alone," Rep. Beltran said.

The resolution noted that more than 35% of the Philippines' estimated
population of 85 million people live on less than $2 a day.

"It is clear from the various media interviews with the victims and the
survivors―whether in the local or in the international press―that
overwhelming poverty was the primary factor that pushed people to
desperation and haste to get into the venue, which significantly contributed
to the stampede," he noted.

*Sec. Ermita's rebuttal fallacious and unscientific *

Rep. Beltran, meanwhile, chided Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita for
saying that observations on the tragedy as a mirror of the state of the
country's poor were way out of line.

"Any scientific or sociological study of the 'Ultra-tragedy' will
inevitably factor in demographics: the fact that poor people considered
winning in 'Wowowee' as one of the few means to uplift their living
conditions, and disprove Sec. Ermita's point that economics and the politics
of poverty has absolutely nothing to do with this event," he said.

"It's utterly fallacious and illogical of Sec. Ermita to uncritically
compare the Ultra stampede with a stampede during the Feast of the Black
Nazarene or during the Sinulog, because other components―celebratory gaiety,
or folk Catholicism―are also involved. In the Ultra stampede, the promise
of economic relief was the primary identifiable factor behind the frenzy.
This is not necessarily the same case with religious festivals or
celebrations," he said. ###


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