Saturday, February 04, 2006

Wowowee stampede also a poverty-induced tragedy, solon bewails

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:

February 4, 2006


Wowowee stampede also a poverty-induced tragedy

We in Anakpawis express our deepest condolences and offer our prayers to the
victims of the stampede at the opening of the 'Wowowee' anniversary show at
the Ultra this morning.

It is profoundly tragic that things have come to this point. The 'Wowowee'
tragedy is not only due to the lack of disaster-preparedness and crowd
control systems of the event organizers and the local government. The
Wowowee tragedy is partly poverty-induced. It can not be denied that the big
cash prizes up at stake in the show added to the entertainment show's
crowd-drawing power, especially at this time when millions of Filipinos are
unemployed and desperate over sinking wages and rising costs of commodities,
rates, and services due to the RVAT and oil price hikes.

It is deeply unfortunate that our country has reached this point of
desperation, where the only way for the masses to uplift themselves out of
poverty is to win in the Lotto Sweepstakes or in cash-and-entertainment
shows such as 'Wowowee' or 'Laban o Bawi', because the Arroyo administration
is grossly incapable of giving our workers jobs, our peasants land to till,
and our urban poor chances for sustainable livelihood and instead imposes
unjust taxation such as the RVAT.

It is doubly tragic that many of those who died were elderly women who have
been waiting for days to get access into the show mothers who have children
to feed and send to school but who perhaps have no jobs nor much means to
cope with unjust taxes such as the RVAT. Other victims were reportedly from
far-away provinces, who all chipped in for transportation just to stake
their chances on winning the show's prizes and to temporarily escape from
the hunger pangs and lack of jobs.

Last night, TV reports showed that many of our constituents can no longer
afford to buy the abominably-high prices of basic medicines they need due to
the Value Added Tax increases, and the gross inadequacy of wages for
workers. The Arroyo government is indirectly killing our people through
policies that directly result in severe hunger, medical negligence.

These are compelling proof of the masses' desperation at the Arroyo
administration's incompetence and insensitivity towards the welfare of the
Filipino people. The Arroyo administration is deeply accountable for the
Wowowee tragedy, because it's anti-poor policies and callousness towards
providing genuine social reforms have largely contributed to the desperation
and the hopelessness that the masses who patronize these shows feel. ###


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