Wowowee: When Poverty Can Be Fatal

We all know that watching too much TV can have ill effects. In the case of the ABS-CBN TV show Wowowee, starring Willie Revillame, I guess the whole country is still stunned by the stampede that happened yesterday morning, killing 70 to 80 plus people (the counts vary based on which report you refer to), and injuring hundreds of others.

I haven't watched a single episode of Wowowee but I know it is immensely popular. You hear about it from relatives and friends and you see Willie Revillame being hired by the Department of Tourism to promote the Philippines (I wonder what happens to that now?).

We were at a kite-flying activity at our son's school yesterday morning when some co-parents arrived slightly late. They then relayed the news that they got delayed by some breaking news about a stampede at the Wowowee show which killed several people.

There will be the usual investigations. Already, we have newspapers, bloggers, etc. stating what they think about the whole tragic affair. Who do we blame? ABS-CBN? (We just want to entertain and make people happy.) The people who went there? (We just wanted to win some money.) Corrupt politicians? (We just wanted to steal some of your money so what the heck if a lot of Pinoys are poor). I don't know.

It is uncanny but if you go to Sunday mass today, the first reading is about Job, a "good man who suffers total disaster." What might be God's message for all of us in this latest unfortunate incident? The reading today is as follows (Job 7: 1-7):

"Human life is like forced army service, like a life of hard manual labor, like a slave longing for cool shade, like a worker waiting to be paid. Month after month, I have nothing to live for; night after night brings me grief. When I lie down to sleep, the hours drag, I toss all night and long for dawn. My body is full of worms, it is covered with scabs; pus runs out of my sores. My days pass by without hope, pass faster than a weaver's shuttle. Remember, O God, my life is only a breath; my happiness has already ended."

We enjoin everyone to say a prayer for the souls of those who have passed away. To pray that those who are injured may recover soon. To pray that those who are missing will soon be reunited with their loved ones. We pray for strength for those who have lost family and friends. We pray for our country that this may be the last of such incidents and that no Pinoy shall be ever so poor so as to hitch their dreams and hopes to a TV show.

In the aftermath of yesterday's events, just as today's 1st reading seems to be quite apt, we also find hope in our responsorial psalm: "Praise be the Lord Who heals the brokenhearted." Look to the One Who can heal all your hurts and fulfill all your hopes. God bless the Philippines.

[By Angelica Viloria | Sunday, February 5, 2006]

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