Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Filipino doctors in USA, 2nd to India among IMGs

March 23, 2009

We are quick to assert that among the international medical graduates (IMGs) in the United States, Filipinos are 2nd to doctors from India as the most represented ethnic group in the profession. This is a very good record for our country who has distinguished itself as one of the most prolific doctor suppliers of America. About ¼ of doctors in USA are IMGs.

Top Ten Countries of Medical Education for IMG Physicians

2007
India———————————— 19.99%———————-47,581
Philippines——————————8.7%————————-20,861
Mexico———————————-5.8%————————-13,929
Pakistan———————————4.8%————————-11,330
Dominican Republic——————3.3%————————–7,892
Russia———————————-2.5%————————- 6,039
Grenada———————————2.4%————————–5,708
Egypt————————————2.2%————————–5,202
Korea————————————2,1%————————–4,982
Italy————————————–2.1%————————–4,741
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2007

2008
India————————————-21%————————–41,247
Philippines—————————— 9%—————————21,081
Mexico———————————- 6%—————————13,980
Pakistan———————————-5%—————————11,901
Dominican Republic——————-3.7%—————————8,618
Russia————————————2.7%—————————6,293
Grenada———————————-2.7%—————————6,299
Egypt————————————-2.2%—————————5,301
Korea————————————-2.1%—————————5,031
China————————————-2.1%—————————5,087
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2008

The 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) IMG record shows the Filipino doctors rank second to India in number—-9% and 21% respectively of the total number of foreign medics who train in the United States. That’s a total of 21,081 Filipinos vs. 41,247 Indians. Because of the sharp difference (double) in numbers between the two groups, Filipino physicians in USA looks scarcer compared to the Indians.

The current distribution of Filipino doctors will probably stay for a while since the boom of the nursing profession in the Philippines has lured more doctors to come to USA as nurses. Former Sec of Health Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan confirmed this trend when he revealed in 2007, “My latest study, there are 9,000 doctors who have become nurses. Six thousand of them (6,000) have left the Philippines mainly for the U.S. to work as nurses.” Majority of these MD-nurses come from government hospitals, keeping the pool of United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) takers and residency seekers from new graduates relatively intact.

A coincident fall of medical student enrollment, as much as 40% in some schools, has caused the lack of physicians in the Philippines, but not so much in USA since it remains to be a favored job destination of Filipino health professionals for more than 50 years. What is astounding is even if Filipino IMGs are second to the Indians, their number is small—less than half of the latter.(Photo Credit: Jandentonchua) =0=

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Filipino doctors in USA, 2nd to India among IMGs

March 23, 2009

We are quick to assert that among the international medical graduates (IMGs) in the United States, Filipinos are 2nd to doctors from India as the most represented ethnic group in the profession. This is a very good record for our country who has distinguished itself as one of the most prolific doctor suppliers of America. About ¼ of doctors in USA are IMGs.

Top Ten Countries of Medical Education for IMG Physicians

2007
India———————————— 19.99%———————-47,581
Philippines——————————8.7%————————-20,861
Mexico———————————-5.8%————————-13,929
Pakistan———————————4.8%————————-11,330
Dominican Republic——————3.3%————————–7,892
Russia———————————-2.5%————————- 6,039
Grenada———————————2.4%————————–5,708
Egypt————————————2.2%————————–5,202
Korea————————————2,1%————————–4,982
Italy————————————–2.1%————————–4,741
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2007

2008
India————————————-21%————————–41,247
Philippines—————————— 9%—————————21,081
Mexico———————————- 6%—————————13,980
Pakistan———————————-5%—————————11,901
Dominican Republic——————-3.7%—————————8,618
Russia————————————2.7%—————————6,293
Grenada———————————-2.7%—————————6,299
Egypt————————————-2.2%—————————5,301
Korea————————————-2.1%—————————5,031
China————————————-2.1%—————————5,087
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2008

The 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) IMG record shows the Filipino doctors rank second to India in number—-9% and 21% respectively of the total number of foreign medics who train in the United States. That’s a total of 21,081 Filipinos vs. 41,247 Indians. Because of the sharp difference (double) in numbers between the two groups, Filipino physicians in USA looks scarcer compared to the Indians.

The current distribution of Filipino doctors will probably stay for a while since the boom of the nursing profession in the Philippines has lured more doctors to come to USA as nurses. Former Sec of Health Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan confirmed this trend when he revealed in 2007, “My latest study, there are 9,000 doctors who have become nurses. Six thousand of them (6,000) have left the Philippines mainly for the U.S. to work as nurses.” Majority of these MD-nurses come from government hospitals, keeping the pool of United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) takers and residency seekers from new graduates relatively intact.

A coincident fall of medical student enrollment, as much as 40% in some schools, has caused the lack of physicians in the Philippines, but not so much in USA since it remains to be a favored job destination of Filipino health professionals for more than 50 years. What is astounding is even if Filipino IMGs are second to the Indians, their number is small—less than half of the latter.(Photo Credit: Jandentonchua) =0=

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Slumdog Millionaire wins 8 Oscars

February 23, 2009

On Febrary 22, 2009, the drama movie “Slumdog Millionaire” carted away the most number of recognitions in the Oscars awards—8 winnings including the Best Movie award from the academy.

Held at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre for the 7th year, the glittery event of tinseltown attended by movie stars and celebrities, honored the visibly elated British director Daniel Doyle and the cast of his winning film which included Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Anil Kapoor, all first-time actor-nominees in the Oscar. Other actors in the movie were children plucked from the dirt-poor slums in Mumbai, India to be among the cast-members brought to Hollywood for the awarding ceremony

Of the 10 nominations the movie dominated the awards by garnering prizes in eight categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.

During the screening on August 2008 at Telluride Film Festival, Slumdog Millionaire generated interest and appreciation from those who first saw the film. It was well-received by viewers at the Toronto International Film Festival. With popularity rising, on January 2009, the movie was screened nationwide in the United States. According to reports, as of February 18, 2009, the film has raked in a bonanza of $89,316,895 at box office in the North America.

Timely as the reality of the current global economic meltdown, the film depicts the race of impoverished people to win in India’s rags to riches version of “Who wants to be a millionaire.” Though well-acclaimed by movie enthusiasts and scribes, the film has drawn criticisms and protests for propagating the Western stereotype of poverty and the negativities that go with the depiction of slums in a poor country. (Photo Credit: Mirchiaish; AP/ Matt Sayles) =0=

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Fecund birth and elderly parturition

December 19, 2008

The arrival of a baby is one of the happiest moments of a family. It is even happier for the Duggar family in Arkansas that welcomes Jordyn-Grace Makiya, a 7 pound, 3 ounces baby girl, the 18th member of the brood. Jim Bob Duggar and wife Michele who are devoted to parenting have now 10 sons and eight daughters. “The ultimate gift from God,” said the ecstatic father whose baby was born by caesarean section (CS) on Thursday, December 18, 2008 at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers, AK.

In India, a similarly happy couple celebrates the birth of their healthy daughter after a pregnancy that was made possible by fertility treatment. At 70 years old, two decades beyond the usual age of menopause, Rajo Devi delivered by CS at the National Fertility Center in Hisar, India, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. She and husband Bala Ram, 72, had been trying to have a baby for about ten years in a community which bears stigma on childless couples.

Because of modern technology, changing cultural norms, and individual preferences, more couples like the Duggars and the Rams are able to decide on unusual choices of family size and age of childbearing. It is unclear what these choices will bring to their children of the future. (Photo Credit: AP/ Beth Hall; AP /Devendra Uppal) =0=

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Orphaned boy, broken peace

December 7, 2008

A week of investigation has yielded evidence to suggest that the Mumbai terrorist attack which killed nearly 200 people is linked with the violent Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT,) a radical Islamic group with roots in the Pakistani soil.

The horrendous suffering of innocent people cannot be completely quantified in this recent act of terrorism. It is horrible to imagine that there are people who spend time to destroy lives rather than build them.

In the aftermath of India’s worst terrorist attack, the story of Moshe Holtzberg stuck out as the most heart-rending. The two-year old Jewish tot lost his father Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and mother Rivkha in the killings at the Chabad House during the 60-hour carnage.

If not for the decision of his quick-thinking nanny, Sandra Samuel, the innocent kid could also have been shot dead too. Safely back in Isreal with his grandparents, seeing him cry is upsetting.

Moshe’s uncertain future and those like him don’t bother the terrorists. The orphaned child wails when he remembers his dead parents whose religious mission in India came to an abrupt end.

The boy’s young life seems to reflect the state of peace in the world today. It mirrors the trauma people have to endure as as they try to survive the climate of violence which seems difficult to stop. (Photo Credits: AFP/ Lorenzo Tugnoi; AP/ Hillary Levin)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008

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India’s 911 & the reminder of the ugly nature of terrorism

November 30, 2008


Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair.”—Pope Benedict XVI

The gruesome killing spree by militant Islamic radicals in the financial district of India on November 27, 2008 brought a toll of at least 195 dead and more than 300 injured. Many lives were lost senselessly; many homes were broken. After a 60-hour bloody rampage, one could ask if these terrorists could be expected to follow the standards of Western justice and fair play.

Suspected to be Muslim extremists from neighboring Pakistan, the brutal killers left 22 foreigners and 15 Indian security officers among the dead. Their barbarity is their hallmark; their cruelty is incomprehensible.

“Terrorism is carried out purposefully, in a cold-blooded, calculated fashion. The declared goals of the terrorist may change from place to place. He supposedly fights to remedy wrongs — social, religious, national, racial. But for all these problems his only solution is the demolition of the whole structure of society. No partial solution, not even the total redressing of the grievance he complains of, will satisfy him — until our social system is destroyed or delivered into his hands.

“When I say that terrorism is war against civilization, I may be met by the objection that terrorists are often idealists pursuing worthy ultimate aims — national or regional independence, and so forth. I do not accept this argument. I cannot agree that a terrorist can ever be an idealist, or that the objects sought can ever justify terrorism. The impact of terrorism, not merely on individual nations, but on humanity as a whole, is intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and w holly evil.”—Benjamin Netanyahu

The question about justice and fair play of terrorists is more significant as Pres. George W. Bush, the leader of the war on terror leaves office. In spite of his gains with America’s allies, many people forget his credit of foiling of reckless radicals who want to bomb US cities as they did with India. Demonized in a greater scale than his shortcomings, Bush still reminds the world of complacency, the evil of terrorism, and the costly war required in stopping it.

“Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” —Sir Winston Churchill

Terrorists are determined to strike in a date, time and place of their choosing. They will do it in their own terms. Security and safety can only be achieved if they are vanquished and eradicated.

It appears this is a battle that can last longer than the lifetimes of people of the present generation. Changing a warped and immoral ideology takes time especially if linked with radical religious beliefs among people with failing governments and cultures.

“We can’t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.” Mayor Rudolf Guiliani

There are those who think that the terrorists are reasonable and fair. They believe they can be made to embrace peace and be taught good moral conduct. Yet by choosing violence and seeking the destruction of their enemies (i.e. Israel and USA) how can they be trusted? The people of the world are caught between their freedoms and living in a bubble of a society on edge, raising security to avoid an attack.

This might sound arrogant, but I told the terrorist, ‘You can harm my body, you can harm my mind, but you can’t harm my soul. That is mine.’Terry Waite

It’s at this juncture that President-elect Barack Obama thinks deeply on how he’ll deal with cold-bloodied killers whose basic belief is to spread hatred and cause destruction of Western world. It is increasingly clear that those who want to destroy civilization will not stop at causing damage and physical harm. They are bent to inflict suffering, confront the world, until they gain control.

The Republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it … This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.—Elmer Davis

The war on terror isn’t an electoral campaign issue anymore. Rather, it’s a problem that all Americans and their allies have to tackle with undiminished resolve. Obama needs to balance diplomacy, the use of force, pragmatism, and rational judgment. It remains to be seen whether his diplomacy will open a future world order that is peaceful and prosperous.

While we must remain determined to defeat terrorism, it isn’t only terrorism we are fighting. It’s the beliefs that motivate terrorists. A new ideology of hatred and intolerance has arisen to challenge America and liberal democracy.”— Sen. John Kerry

To expect enemies to abandon their violent agenda in a diplomatic negotiation table is naïve and foolhardy. Not to use force against them when it is necessary may be courting defeat. The terrorists know how to exploit any sign of weakness. With the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attack, those who are soft on the radicals have something serious to think about. (Photo Credits: Madalena Pestena; Reuters/Stringer; AP/Gurinder Osan; AFP/Pedro Ugarte; Harpagonis; AFP/Indrabil Muherjee; AFP/Prakash Singh) =0=

At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India

November 27, 2008

The fire rages in Taj Mahal and Oberoi, the two luxury hotels attacked by terrorists. The dead and wounded are at least 82 and 200 respectively and the numbers are expected to rise. There are reports that about 40 westerners mostly British and Americans are feared to have been seized as hostages by an obscure militant Islamic group called Decca Mujahideen.

It isn’t ascertained how many are stuck in the hotels. The number of hostages and their identities are not known at this time. Six (6) terrorists have been killed so far. The number of those injured may reach 700.

The bloody attacks have been carried out simultaneously in at least 7 different sites including places like the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, Leopold restaurant, Cama, Albless, and G.T. Hospitals.

David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary strongly condemning the violence asserted, “Today’s attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists.” Similar condemnation came from White House spokesman Tony Fratto who said, “We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life.”—AP (11/27/08, Badam, RT

Although the motive of the senseless carnage which occurred on Wednesday night on November 26, 2008 isn’t known, the world can just watch in horror the barbarity of terrorist groups who prey on the innocents to gain attention and advance their warped agenda for the world. As of this writing, guns are fired and bombs are detonated without clear end. This violent incident makes the fight against terror unrelenting—ever more real today and in the future.


Cascade of Terrorist Attacks in India Killing Scores of Innocent People (Source: IBN Live, 11/27/08)

• Mumbai, Nov 26, 2008: Several killed and many more injured in seven terror attacks targetting mostly foreigners’ hangout places.
•Assam, Oct 30, 2008: At least 45 killed (figure can change) and over 100 injured in 18 terror bombings across Assam.
• Imphal, Oct 21, 2008: 17 killed in a powerful blast near Manipur Police Commando complex.
• Kanpur, Oct 14, 2008: Eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented bicycle went off Colonelganj market.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 29, 2008: Five people died after a bomb kept in a motorbike went off in a crowded market.
• Modasa, Gujarat, Sep 29 2008: One killed and several injured after a low-intensity bomb kept on a motorcycle went off near a mosque.
• New Delhi, Sep 27, 2008: Three people killed after a crude bomb was thrown in a busy market in Mehrauli.
• New Delhi, Sep 13, 2008: 26 people killed in six blasts across the city.
• Ahmedabad, July 26, 2008: 57 people killed after 20-odd synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours.

• Bangalore, July 25, 2008: One person killed in a low-intensity bomb explosion.
• Jaipur, May 13, 2008: 68 people killed in serial bombings.
• Hyderabad, Aug 25, 2007: 42 people killed in two blasts, at a popular eatery and a public park.
• Samjhauta Express, Feb 19, 2007: 66 people killed after two firebombs went off on the India-Pakistan friendship train.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 8, 2006: 40 people killed in two blasts.
• Mumbai, July 11, 2006: 209 people killed in seven blasts on suburban trains and stations.
• Varanasi, March 7, 2006: 21 people killed in three blasts including one at a temple and another at a railway station.
• New Delhi, Oct 29, 2005: 61 people killed in three blasts on the eve of Diwali.
• Mumbai, Aug 25, 2003: 46 people killed in two blasts including one near the Gateway of India.
• Gandhinagar, Sep 24, 2002: 34 people killed in the attack on the Akshardham temple. (Photo Credits: AP/GautamSingh; AP/GautamSingh; Reuters/ArkoDatta; AFP; AFP/IndraniMukherjee; AP/GautamSingh) =0=

UPDATE: The rising death toll and number of people injured are as follows: November 26, 2008 10:40 PM (Eastern US Time) Death toll—101; AP November 27, 2008 8:41 PM—104 dead; 314 wounded.

Import ban of 30+ generic drugs from India & melamine-contaminated milk from China

September 17, 2008

More than thirty (30) drugs which include acyclovir, cirprofloxacin and simvastatin, manufactured in two Ranbaxy Laboratories (Dewas and Poenta Sahib plants) in India will not be permitted into the US. Without asking for recall of drugs already on the shelf, the Food Drug Administration (FDA,) the decision is based on the lack of compliance to safety and manufacturing standards by the Indian drug company.

The Food Drug Administration says no report of harm has been so far reported.

List of Drugs with Stop Order

acyclovir, cefprozil, cefuroxime axetil, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin HCl, clarithromycin, fenofibrate, fluconazole, fosinopril sodium, fosinopril sodium and hydrochlorothiazide, gabapentin, glimepiride, isotrentinoin, lamivudine, loratadine OTC, metformin HCl, nefazodone HCl, nitrofurantoin, nitrofurantoin and macrocystalline, ofloxacin, pravastatin sodium, ranitidine, simvastatin, terazozin HCl, valacyclovir HCl, and zidovudine (PEPFAR).” Medical News Today (09/16/08, Agus, Z, MD)

In a similar vein, in a growing scare after imported milk laced with melamine, a chemical substance used to “increase protein content” of milk has been reported to have killed undetermined number of babies and sickened at least 1,253 babies in China. It’s the same chemical that killed pet dogs in USA and Europe afte being fed imported Chinese milk reported earlier.

Melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics such as plates and saucers, is known to cause urinary malfunction, stones and failure of the kidneys when ingested.

Toxic History of China’s Products

— Half of all dangerous goods seized in Europe in 2007 came from China
— Last year China found two companies guilty of intentionally exporting contaminated pet food
— US authorities last year gave warning that monkfish imported from China may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin
— In 2005 Sudan 1, a carcinogenic food colouring, was found in Chinese branches of KFC
— In January a survey found almost two thirds of Chinese people were worried about food safety
Sources: European Commission, Times archives /TimesOnline(09/15/08)/ChinaDaily/Reuters

Produced by Sanlu, China’s biggest milk power-maker halted its milk production. Ninetten (19) people were arrested in connection with the scandal of greed and lack of concern for people’s lives. The investigation of the scandal was delayed by a ban of news of this nature during the Beijing Olympics.

These two reports have practical implications in the Philippines who partly rely on India for its imports of medicines. They have more resonance with the passage of the Cheap Drug Legislation of 2008 signed into law of Pres. Gloria M. Macapagal. China also sells products to the Philippines which need tighter watch for adulteration and toxic contamination. =0=

UPDATE: On September 25, 2008, the PDI reported that 2 million kilos of milk was imported by the Philippines from China from Jan. to Aug. 2008. As the scandal of the melamine-contaminated milk widens worldwide, about 53,000 children, mostly in China, have been reported to have been sickened and several babies died. The DOH is monitoring hospitals for reports of children getting sick as result of ingesting milk and milk products.
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RP’s 40% drop in med school enrollment & the foreign doctors

August 27, 2008

It seems a good thing that doctors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN,) a group of sovereign states in partnership with the Philippines, are coming to the country for study. This development is timely when at least 5,000 doctors have left the country since 2004 and about 6,000 have shifted to study nursing for jobs abroad. In the last three years, a staggering 40% drop in medical enrollment is noted. Asian Journal Online (08/26/08)

An uncertain number of foreign doctors who come from Iran, India, Malaysia and Indonesia and other neighboring countries have sought training in Philippine hospitals, many in the provinces, even if no Department of Health (DOH) guidelines are existent to regulate them.

According to Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Reynaldo Santos, M.D., the arrival of these foreign medical trainees attests to the high quality of education in the country. But this is doubted in the wake of a sharp decline of the number of hospitals, a marked rise in patient load for doctors and nurses, a low passing rate of Filipinos in the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE,) an over-crowding of patients and trainees, lack of budget, equipment upgrade, and medical facilities in many hospitals. See related article on medical diploma mills below.

If the Department of Health (DOH) and the Education Department (CHED) don’t act fast, it will not be long before foreigners will be able to judge for themselves the quality of education and healthcare in the Philippines compared to that of their countries of origin. It is deleterious for the country to rely on foreigners to solve the shortage of physicians or seek them to shore up dwindling medical enrollment. Without infringing on the physicians’ rights, measures to reverse the brain-drain of local doctors must be high in the priority. (Photo Credit: Doctian) =0=

MEDICAL SCHOOL DIPLOMA MILLS

A disturbing article entitled Medical School for Sale? was written by Emil Jurado of Manila Standard on July 26, 2007. It’s unclear whether the Department of Health (DOH) and school authorities (CHED) took satisfactory remedial action to prevent further erosion of credibility with the alleged proliferation of diploma mills in the country.

In concordance with the requirement of ASEAN’s Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)mandating to honor medical licenses and credentials among member nations, this highlights the need to write the long-overdue guidelines needed for the regulation, hiring, and training of local and foreign doctors in the Philippines. Here’s a part of Jurado’s riveting piece that needed verification plus action from the government:

The Times of India, a very prestigious newspaper, published an article, “Now showing: Manilabhai MBBS*.” The article is very derogatory about our kind of medical education. The latest MBBS scam to appear on the medical scene in India is based in the Philippines. “And this one’s even less complicated than the others.”

The article says: “There is no entrance test for admission, now, will you need to attempt the screening test in return?” says Upveen Harpal, accounting executive, HCMI, which is sending students abroad.

The article adds, “So, anybody with 40 percent in Class XII examination and who could pay Rs 16 lakhas (about P1.6 million) upfront could head for the Philippines for an MBBS and come home to practice. No questions asked, and Harpal claimed that this was a three-party tieup among HCMI, a medical school in Manila and a medical school in Tamil Nadu, India.”

To add insult to injury, Yogesh Sharma of Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad wrote an article entitled, “The Philippines dangles carrots to Gujarat students: Be doctor for Rs 20 lakh.” The article implies that there are no more requirements to enter an MBBS program in the Philippines since the title gives the impression that all one needs is Rs 20 lakh or P2,000,000 to become a doctor, courtesy of fly-by-night or spurious Philippine medical schools, and diploma mills for sale. “ *N.B. M.D. in the Philippines is equivalent to MBBS in India. Manila Standard (07/25/08, Jurado, Emil; Photo Credit: PaulCooperBland)

Wowowee & the Temple Stampede in Northern India

August 3, 2008

I rushed to the spot in search of my three children who had gone to pay obeisance at the hilltop shrine…I fail to understand why God was so cruel to us,” said Jawahar Khurana. AP/ ABS-CBNNews (08/04/08.)

There’s an uncanny similarity of the Wowowee incident in Manila on February 4, 2006 and the stampede in the foothills of Himalayas on Aug 3, 2008. A least a hundred forty five (145) people died in Northern India after rumors of a landslide stirred worshippers to mad agitation. (Photo Credit: AP/Sharma,S.) Wowowee’s death toll reached 71. The panicked crowd attending a religious festival pushed and ran, trampling people as they rushed out of the mountaintop Hindu temple. Wowowee’s crowd jostled frantically for a crazy reason— to get the best spot to watch a TV extravaganza.

To date, the victims’ families are still stuck in a legal tussle with ABS-CBN Corporation on who are responsible. Those who lost loved-ones see who are accountable even if the courts still debate on the matter. Perhaps, the families of the Indian pilgrims feel this way too when there’s too much pain and blame to spread around.

In Wowowee, poor people were lured by a promise of winning a prize in a TV spectacle which neglected the dangers of massing huge crowds in a contracted arena. The promoters of the show at ABS-CBN were responsible. Yet the popular TV show continued its repertoire of entertainment and laughter like nothing happened, as if no lives were lost. Lack of money to wage legal battles and a dearth of defenders had sealed the victims’ fate. To my knowledge, nobody had been punished. There was no one to avenge the deaths of the innocents and the poor. =0=