Monday, August 23, 2010

GET ON THE BUS

I'm no fan of beauty pageants, but I sincerely hope that Venus Raj wins Miss U tomorrow (August 24 in Manila). We need a FEEL-GOOD moment after that Manila Bus Hostage tragedy, and all those other bus-related tragedies (Benguet, CamSur) in the last few days.

Everyone's been focusing on the tragedies, and with good reason. From faulty brakes to reportedly drug-boosted drivers, from 42 dead in Benguet, to a former beauty titlist dead in Cam Sur--all in a week's span--this series of disgustingly unfortunate but avoidable events are a glaring reminder of what this country has become: transportation hell.

Of course, the Quirino Grandstand fiasco had nothing to do with faulty brakes and drivers on a high. The world watched in horror as it showcased a disgruntled former policeman with a mission, get his job and benefits back, by calling the Ombudsman's attention with 22 hostages onboard a Chinese tourist bus. Naturally, GMA and ABS-CBN were there to get the grisly details on the 6:30 news. ABS wins the "Most Insensitive, Sensational Award", in my book, for training their cameras on the bloodied bodies of tourists on stretchers, some of whom the reporter blithely identified as already dead. There was even a shot of Dinky Soliman giggling like a schoolgirl as cabinet officials and medical spokespersons got ready for their press conference. I have never seen such blood-curdling television since Face to Face.

There was a lot to be ashamed of as the crisis segued into the night. I won't go into all those serious and not-so-serious feedbacks flying all over twitter and facebook all night. I will not go on the defensive, begging the international community not to judge us Filipinos for one man's actions. C'mon. The late Senior Inspector Mendoza WAS one of us. Frustrated, out-of-control, misunderstood. Hate him on facebook, we hate ourselves. He represented the worst in all of us, so we should rightfully be ashamed.

P-Noy has apologized to the Chinese government for what happened. HongKong has issued a total travel ban to the Philippines. A facebook friend warns, "Kawawang Singson sa HongKong".

Me, I'm going to root for Venus Raj, who lost a friend and probably a couple thousand text votes tonight.

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