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Explosions in Philippine Malls (early 2000)
To The Malls, To The Malls!
By Angelica Bautista Viloria
May 22, 2000
Filipinos go to the shopping malls to eat. To shop. To watch a movie. Not to die. The latest news about the bombing last weekend in Megamall is therefore, truly disturbing and downright irritating.
Shop till you drop dead. My husband says this is a truly tasteless title for an article like this. Then again, it's still not as tasteless as the perpetrators of the bombing, the police who can't seem to keep anyone and any place safe anymore, and government officials who keep yakking away when it's very clear that they know nothing.
The first incident at Glorietta last week was not that earth-shaking for me. My officemate told me about it, early evening, as I was about to go home. She warned me not to go to Glorietta since there was an explosion at about five in the afternoon. I thanked her for the info though I really did not worry since I'm hardly in Glorietta anyway. Last Sunday's bombing, though, literally hit closer to home. Megamall. My family's Powerbooks, Toy Kingdom, and Book Wagon Megamall.
We were at Shangri-la Plaza when we first heard about the bombing. Have you noticed that all of the malls now suddenly inspect the bags of shoppers upon entering, following the Glorietta incident? I was telling my husband that Shangri-la Plaza was already doing this even though nothing had happened yet. Well, as we waited to enter the covered parking lot at about past five, Sunday, May 21, the security guard asked us to open our car trunk. (Hmm, even tighter security). Having complied with the inspection, we entered the parking lot, and lo and behold, we saw traffic on the other side, as cars seemingly wanted to leave the place as quickly as possible. Upon stepping out of our vehicle, after parking, my husband, the closet chismoso (nice translation: inquisitive person) that he was, approached another security guard and asked what was happening. The guard then informed him that there had been an explosion in Megamall, only about seven minutes ago.
Unfazed (or maybe, just plain worried that we continued to absent-mindedly walk to the mall), we headed for Shangri-la's entrance. The guards who already used to check shoppers' bags before (I sometimes really wonder what they hope to find) were still there, but now they had metal detectors, would frisk the male shoppers, and even had two bomb-sniffing (I suppose) dogs. Well, the dogs didn't even give a hoot about us. My husband was also disappointed that the guards hardly checked his pocket. I suppose the guards also don't want the customers to get turned off by too much security. As for me, I'd take a disgruntled customer, over a dead one anytime.
Where are we to go on weekends? Should people just stay home? I'd give the Filipino a day or two to recover and I'd count him or her in again for the next three-day sale. My husband now wonders, would people feel insulted the next time he gives them free movie passes?
As for the people who did this, I think they had better have their heads examined. Imagine, even choosing Armageddon in the Year 2000 as the movie to target for such an explosion? Who is responsible? Someone out to destabilize the government? The MILF? Other terrorist groups? The Hip Hop Gangs (again)? Government itself? All sorts of speculations have been raised. Only one thing is sure though. Such incidents do not help us any. Whether you are pro or anti-Erap. We're just scaring away investors and tourists. We're hurting businesses and individuals. If there's something one does not like about government, about life in the Philippines, find a more constructive or productive way to express it. You're not the only one who lives in this country. This is our place too. You just cannot run this country to the ground.
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To The Malls, To The Malls!
Written on May 22, 2000
Copyright © 2000 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com