Uunahin Kita, Inay

 

Uunahin kita, Inay
Sa malubha mong karamdaman.
At kakalungin sa bisig ko, ang mahinang katawan,
Magdamag kitang babantayan, sa luksa’t lumbay ng kadiliman.
At ipapanalangin kong, makita mo ang kariktan.*

 

There are a thousand issues that inflame us. We are revolted by the recent tragedy at the ULTRA stadium a few days ago. Seventy-four (74) people died in the stampede by the entrance of what was to be the venue of a game-show anniversary event. Most of the victims were elderly women.

It is fundamental that we look deeper into this debacle. Things occur because very many prior events lead to its happening. Although it is logical to conclude that this is just a result of an overwhelmed events-coordination group or it could also be mere oversight on a security plan, it is also not farfetched to be open to the fact that this is probably not an isolated event.

“Wowowee” is a game show that works this way: The organizers solicit donations from overseas Filipinos and in turn, these serve as the prizes for people who come and join the games they concoct. Some involve singing or dancing on-command, while some segments feature a showbiz gossip trivia contest. Obviously, this show capitalizes on the poor person’s desire for that proverbial windfall. Genius. Siyempre patok.

Days before the event found flocks of our urban poor camping out by the vicinity of the stadium. Elderly women with their children or grandchildren staked out the venue to ensure that they get in and subsequently have a batting chance at winning something. Anything that these game-show hosts toss out to them in mock benevolence. Anything at all.

Many shadowy points come to the surface in the glare of this disaster. It brings to light the lack of policies that address our blatant need for more balanced network programming, most line-ups on national television favor entertainment ratings over education and values dissemination, but most of all, the glaring issue at hand is our lack of vigilance on these matters.

Democracy is about holding our ground. We should appreciate it when a friend can hold his ground and say, “You’re out of line.” We must be able to say this to each other, our parents, our partners, our spouses, our bosses, the president of ones country, and even TV network giants. This is democracy.

Someone’s out of line. In the end, we know that we are out of line when we don’t even bother to ask more questions about who is accountable for these deaths. We know we are out of line when we don’t even bother to talk squarely about preventable tragedies.

No More Excuses, Philippines.

 

Excerpt from “Uunahin Kayo” by Gary Granada, roughly translated as:

*" I place you above all, Mother, while you are gravely ill.
I will hold your frailty close against the strength of my chest.
Throughout the desolate, mournful darkness, I will be vigilant. I will watch over you.
And that you see beauty, will be my prayer.”


Text: Gang Badoy
Photo Credit: Bahaghari © 2006