Nothing more dangerous

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - January 14, 2015 - 12:00am

If the PNP, MMDA, and other agencies will have their way, they would want to keep the number of people entering the Quirino Grandstand for Pope Francis' Sunday mass at seven hundred thousand. The area has been sealed off and divided into quadrants, with spaces for emergencies along with portalets. But what concerns me is the single entry point that they plan to put up. The rationale being easier control over the people entering the quadrangle. Looks more like the three hundred Spartans controlling the million-strong Persians in the Hot Gates.

Metal detectors and scanners will be placed at this entrance. A number of forbidden items have been announced, such as large bags, backpacks, umbrellas, hats and caps, and deadly weapons. People are encouraged to bring raincoats, in case of rain which seems more and more likely. But I'm sure there will be those who are either too stubborn or just plain ignorant of the list, causing delays in the ingress of people. A vigil leading to the mass is also forbidden, with the gate open to the public at six in the morning. The mass is scheduled for three-thirty in the afternoon. How long will it take to bring in seven hundred thousand people through one entrance? Only God knows.

I'm pretty sure problems will come up. If there is one thing about us Filipinos, we just do not line up properly. There are those who are oblivious to common sense, some just plain discourteous and arrogant, while a number feel privileged and important to cut a line. Let's just hope nothing like the death of a devotee in the recently concluded Traslacion of the Black Nazarene happens. The person was pinned down by the massive crowd as the image was being brought into the Quiapo Church. Small opening, massive crowd equals tragedy.

Millions are expected to attend the mass. Hotels along Roxas Blvd. are fully booked. They probably hope to get a front row seat for the mass. I really hope everything goes smooth and as planned. For those who will not be able to enter the quadrangle, TV monitors will be available for everyone to view the mass. I would like to think that every contingency is in place for any situation. In 1995, crowds suddenly crossed lines towards Pope John Paul II's convoy, in the hope of having a glimpse of him. I hope that does not happen again. Nothing is more dangerous than a rushing crowd. We have seen tragedy occur because of uncontrollable crowds in soccer matches, concerts, variety shows, and even in a small place called Ozone. I pray that a planned solemn event does not turn tragic.

I also hope that the garbage situation after the mass is not as bad as it usually is, but that may be asking too much. I really wish we could take a page out of the Japanese who clean up after large events. Seeing them do just that during the World Cup was just amazing and admirable.

korina_abs@yahoo.com.

BUT I HOT GATES MASS ONLY GOD POPE FRANCIS POPE JOHN PAUL QUIAPO CHURCH QUIRINO GRANDSTAND ROXAS BLVD TRASLACION OF THE BLACK NAZARENE WORLD CUP
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