Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fire Exit

The inferno in Butuan on Wednesday was a complete tragedy. Lives were taken away like ashes blown by the wind.

photo courtesy: Mark Samson

The three-storey garment store was infamously called Novo. We used to sneak out from high school and spend time window shopping there, enjoying the temperature against the usual city heat, and in mind was the folly of shoplifting plans. From notebooks to under wears to towels to chocolates to red-dressed sales lady – all were memories of what was Novo. And in an instant unexpected, everything of what used to be a well-known department store of the city has fallen to ashes. Everyone felt the tragedy of the inferno eating up the walls and people of the store.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. at the second floor where more than 20 are stay-in workers. The fire was put out at 6:15. And according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s site, 17 were killed, most of whom were women who were asleep and trapped on the top floor. City fire officials confirmed this, so with the truth that they still not have found out what caused the fire.

photo courtesy: AP

Store employee Mylene Tulo, who escaped with two co-workers, said she was roused from sleep as the fire spread speedily in the third-floor office where they slept. Amid the inferno and yells for help, they managed to sprint out.

“We wanted to rouse others from sleep, but the fire was already too strong,” said Tulo who is suffering a fracture on the left foot. The other two also sustained minor burns on their arms.

“The three of us were able to jump outside the building using a narrow fire exit near the office; many were trapped,” she added.
Relatives and friends, most of them in shock and tears, gathered in search of loved ones in front of the building, where police stood before body bags with the victims’ remains.

It was unbelievable and unimaginable, others say. But no, it wasn’t unbelievable. It was imaginable. It wasn’t the first case of fire in the country or in the city. But, people seemed to have not learned anything at all. We have mourned over burnt lives and wealth before. And here we find ourselves doing the same thing again; all because we lack precautionary measures. These incidents are caused by the most evident reason: this country lacks of firefighting equipment and personnel coupled with safety violations.

People lack the initiative of thinking about worst possibilities.
Until then, we will be witnessing another Novo falling as ashes to the ground so long as we are not vigilant and protected. We will hear yells and sirens and sobs of loss. We do the same , not until we learn how to open the fire exits just before fire goes wild.

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Paws and posts

In this times when teenage satisfactions are determined by ‘likes’ and ‘follows,’ a one-month old kitten is killed and a puppy is hang dried.

Gone are the days when brutality only meant savage human killings and cannibalism. Tweets and statuses replace the 300-pages pad-locked diaries. Photos, in one click, spread through virtual albums. A boy is convicted of ‘animal cruelty’ because of a blog post. Another teenage lad is being sought after by the police after posting pictures of a cute puppy pinned in a clothesline.

The cat-killer’s name is Joseph Carlo Candare. He was a Physics student of the University of the Philippines when the news broke. His blurry pictures flashed through the screens when he blogged about the death of Tengteng – a stray cat he killed on 2009.

“I pulled it (the cat) on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on its torso. Slam! Felt good,” Candare wrote on his blog.

It was yet a short time after the post when ‘animal-loving’ netizens condemned him. Posters of him ‘wanted alive or dead’ ran through different websites. Pages in FB speaking he should be slammed too, had been a hit. It was an instant shame, not fame. And it’s funny how people have been too cruel for a person which once had been ‘cruel’ to animals. The non-mention of his name in the television news was futile because he became a wanted celebrity in the virtual world.

Two years after, he pleaded guilty of animal cruelty filed by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). He was convicted with a P1000 fine and voluntary works in PAWS, taking care 200 abandoned and maltreated cats.  His was the first successful conviction of someone accused of animal cruelty in the Philippines. He learned his lesson. But other teens did not seem to have learned the same.

Another teenage boy is facing charges of animal cruelty. Jerzon Senador pinned his puppy in a laundry line like it was a piece of a newly washed cloth on June 2011. The internet went abuzz shortly after he uploaded several of the ‘disturbing’ photos and, apparently, in less than 24 hours he got himself into snag when animal and pet lovers immediately created and supported a Facebook page “Report Jerzon Senador the Animal Abuser” purposely “to raise awareness regarding animal cruelty.” More than 4,300 netizens liked the page.

Senador apologized through a post in FB saying “Gusto ko humingi ng tawad sa nagawa kong kasalanan sa aking alagang aso.. Sana mapatawad nyo ako at pinapangako ko na hindi na mauulit… “but shortly, after minutes, he had an equally disturbing post saying “Hahaha, hnd ako makukulong noh.. remember senador toh! aquh ng pa2pad ng Animal cruelty at kya kong bawiin yun! ahahahaha”

The Municipal Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna issued a warrant of arrest against him for violation of Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act.  The boy is nowhere to be found right now.

These may serve a lesson to us. It is never good to share too many information through the internet, at the very first place, so is the being cruel to animals and to JC and to Jerzon.

One click and everything worsens. This is the power of the internet. Each netizen should be extra careful of what he posts and shares. It is still better to share compassion rather than tearing those people’s lives apart. The posts of putting those ‘erring young people’ to shame would not even solve the problems of animal cruelty in the country. Be a tool in sharing, tagging and tweeting about love for animals and people around, instead.

In the end, do not post your cruelty to animals through the internet. I mean, do not be cruel to animals and to the people who had been cruel to them.

Because in this times when teenage satisfactions are determined by ‘likes’ and ‘follows,’ what you feed to the virtual world is much influential than the helpless barks and ‘meows.’

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