My mother has a reason to worry. Glorietta is one of my favorite malls. For one, as a child I spent most of my free time there having spent my childhood in the nearby city of Pasay before going back to Naga City where I finished high school and eventually went into college. Even when it was still known as the Quad, it was already one of my preferred places to hang out. In fact, one of my aunties worked in one of the stores there in Park Square. And while waiting for my Auntie Mering to finish with her work, I used to spend most of time inside the National Bookstore in the Glorietta 1 area, just beside the area the blast occurred. I actually like to hang out in the Glorietta 2 whenever I was looking for a quieter place inside the Mall. This the reason why, despite the ignominious and grave damage caused by the explosion, a lot of people are still thankful because if the blast happened in another area where more people usually go to the resulting harm could have been greater.
Personally, I am thankful because I was really thinking of going there today but was not able to because I overslept. Thank God! I was just there the other day. I actually love to have coffee there, read a book, have meetings, and somehow, 'revisit' one of the places where I practically grew up in and spent some of the happiest days of my life - whenever I am here in Manila. I and my fellow Ayala Young Leaders usually meet up there also as many of them are employed by various Ayala companies and are working in offices located on the nearby areas.
But then again, what happened greatly bothered and saddened me as I think of all the hapless and innocent victims. Convinced that my Manila-based family members are all safe, I texted Mr. Ralph Reuben Morales, an AYLC batchmate and our Alumni Relations Officer for the Ayala Young Leaders program of the Ayala Foundation, to know if they are okay. Ralph replied: "Yup. Bt nt d 8 dead and 70 wounded." (Yup. But not the 8 dead and the 70 wounded.)
"I know bro. It's despicable.", I texted back.
"Grabe ang nangyari", he said in return.
This is really shocking. I join all those who are condemning this act, and whoever was behind it (At first, it was thought to have been caused by an LPG tank explosion, but recently, the theory was already discounted by the Philippine National Police. They said that such explosion could have been caused by a stronger source, like a bomb). I have heard that many of the victims are students, women, and children. There are also many unlucky mall employees. Horrible! If indeed this is a terroristic act, then such evil and cowardly act deserves to be abhorred and denounced in the strongest terms!
Why target defenseless civilians - many of whom are families spending some quality time together inside the mall? Why aim one's weapons against helpless people who are just trying to live their lives or even endure life's many trials and challenges while our kapalmuks politicians unabashedly make fools out of us as they try to outwit and outmaneuver each other for power and money at the general public's expense, without even batting an eyelash for the sufferings of the Filipino people who are the clear losers in their self-directed "moro-moro", circus, or whatever you want to call it? Heck, why punish unprotected human beings, many of whom were perhaps just seeking some refuge, albeit temporarily, inside such clean, beautiful, and air-conditioned mall?
And so -- meantime, let's just pray for all the victims - the missing, the survivors, the injured, and the dead - and their families. I also offer my condolences to the victims and their relatives. And let's also pray for ourselves, for our very own families, and for this battered country.
It is the time for us to close ranks, at least in prayers, if we can't be in any other ways.
Malicious rumormongers/speculators, 'grandstanders', and opportunists go away please and go back to wherever dark, filthy holes you crawled from! Your antics won't certainly help - for heaven's sake!
Readers or bloggers, let us all condemn such fiendish act if indeed such is a terroristic act!
Update: According to the latest news, there are already more than 90 people confirmed wounded, 8 dead, and many still feared to have been trapped under the rubble even at this very moment!
ABS-CBN's Maria Ressa, award-winning author of The Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda's Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia, says, in MLQ3's words, "the timing of the blast is within the 'bombing season'" and that the impact, with no visible burn marks, could have been caused by 'pure wave' alone.
"Last year was the only year JI hadn’t conducted a bombing within this season. The blast is strong she said, the radius is large, the strongest probably that’s taken place in the country, she says. No burn marks either, if you look at interior damage photos, so this indicates expertise and training, and there are only two umbrella groups with this capacity: JI and law enforcement agencies. It’s interesting she says, in this context, plus recent Australia warning and PNP warnings of Mindanao. She says she’s seen JI plots to bomb Glorietta but they were made in 2002-2003. She says people have to wait for the investigation and that what she’s discussing is putting the blast in the perspective of past events...She says sources say it was a bomb, and that C-4 explosive was involved."
Despite all, it will certainly help if we all stay calm.
For more news and updates, please visit the special Philippine Daily Inquirer coverage here of the said Glorietta Blast. For more related stories, some of which coming straight from actual eyewitnesses, please visit Manuel L. Quezon III's (MLQ3) blog here. GMA News has pictures and news too here.