PhilSports Stadium stampede

PhilSports Stadium stampede

Infobox News event
name=PhilSports Stadium stampede

date=February 4, 2006
time=6:00 (PST)
place=PhilSports Arena, Pasig City, Metro Manila
notes=Stampede, crushed to death
casualties1=78 dead
casualties2=400 injured

The PhilSports Stadium stampede (also referred to as "Wowowee" stampede or the ULTRA stampede) happened at the PhilSports Stadium (also known as "the ULTRA") in Pasig City, Metro Manila in the Philippines on February 4, 2006. It killed 78 people and injured about 400. About 30,000 people had been gathered outside the stadium waiting to participate in the first anniversary episode of the television game show "Wowowee".



On February 4, 2006, about 30,000 people had gathered outside the PhilSports Stadium to participate in the first anniversary episode of the popular ABS-CBN early afternoon television game show, "Wowowee". It was scheduled at 1 pm. The football stadium was supposed to be the viewing area of people who were not able to enter the basketball stadium, where the program was supposed to be staged. The size of the crowd was significantly larger than the usual 5,000 who attended previous recordings (although the previous recordings were held at ABS-CBN studios). cite news | title =Manila stadium stampede kills 78 | publisher = BBC | date = 4 February 2006 | url = ]

It was the show's first anniversary event, and there were prizes offered including jeepneys (Philippine jitney bus), taxis and a top prize of one million pesos. cite news | title = 73 dead in stampede at Philippine game show | publisher = ABC News (Australia) | date = 4 February 2006 | url = ] According to a "Philippine Daily Inquirer" report, most of the victims were from the poorest parts of the Metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces, generally jobless and attracted by the show's promise of instant wealth. [ cite news | title = Game show stampede: 78 dreams crushed | publisher = Philippine Daily Inquirer | date = 5 February 2006 | url = ]


At about 6 am, the stampede started when organizers of the show began handing out tickets to people in the crowd, many of whom had been camping outside the stadium for days to acquire them. People started trying to get ahead of the queue and became agitated. Those outside the gates started pushing, prompting security guards to close the entrance gates. The situation grew worse and the gate eventually gave way. People at the front of the crowd stumbled, resulting in the stampede.


The stampede killed 78 people and injured some 392 people. Most of the victims were middle-aged or elderly women. Senator and Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said that most of the injured were not in serious condition and many have been treated and released.

It was earlier thought that 88 people had died, but this was due to double counting by the rescue workers.

Rescue and assistance

The Philippine National Red Cross led by chairman Richard J. Gordon, ABS-CBN's affiliated NGOs, and the TV network itself led the efforts in recovering the dead bodies, providing medical care for the injured, and other related assistance. The victims were also fully assisted by government authorities. As a result of the tragedy, the network decided to cancel Wowowee for the time being and the anniversary presentation indefinitely. Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III, the company's current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, also promised to provide aid and financial assistance to the victims and their families. The network also formed 71 Dreams Foundation to assist the relatives of the victims.

Philippine Vice-President Noli de Castro (a one-time ABS-CBN broadcaster) visited the scene of the disaster.

The city officials visited the stampede and helped the wounded victims. The first who came is Pasig City Lone District Congressman Dodot Jaworski followed by Mayor Vicente Eusebio.

Investigation and aftermath

Task Force Ultra, an inter-agency investigating body consisting of the National Capital Region Police Office, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice, was created to investigate the cause of the stampede. According to its findings, Wowowee offered only very few tickets to a very large crowd, which had been waiting for days to gain entry to the stadium.

The Task Force said the stampede was triggered by an ABS-CBN staff member announcing to the crowd gathered at the gate that only the first 300 people in line beneath the covered walkway leading to the stadium would be chosen to participate in the "Pera o Bayong" portion of the show. This portion, which offered from P10,000 to P50,000 in prizes ($193 to $969 at a rate of $1=P51.70), "excited" the crowd and "incited the people who were outside the official queue to push their way into the already jampacked queue, hoping that they could squeeze in among the first 300." To control the deluge of people wanting to get in, the network's staff closed the gate, but the rush of people, coupled with the steep incline and uneven surface of the road caused those in front of the mob to stumble and fall, culminating in the stampede that caused the majority of the deaths and injuries. [ cite news | publisher = Philippine Daily Inquirer | title = Probers cite what triggered stampede | date = 8 February 2006 | url = ]

The Task Force also reported an "obvious lack of coordination" between the organizers and relevant government agencies. It said that while ABS-CBN had sought the assistance of Pasig City’s mayor and police chief, "neither was invited to any of the organizers' production meetings."

The National Telecommunications Commission, a government agency that supervises all radio and television broadcasting stations and other telecommunications services, said ABS-CBN could lose its license to operate if it is proven that the network was "delinquent" in providing enough measures to protect those who went to the venue. The commission will compose an inquiry as to whether ABS-CBN violated a 1985 circular that requires TV networks "not to commit any act that would be detrimental to public health, public welfare or public safety." [ cite news | publisher = Philippine Daily Inquirer | title = Gov't could cancel ABS-CBN license | date = 8 February 2006 | url = ]

On October 2006, relatives of the victims announced that a class suit will be filed against ABS-CBN and its chief executive officer (CEO) [] . “There is now probable cause (for the case),” said Dante Jimenez, the chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

On the first anniversary of the disaster, rather than celebrating the second anniversary of the show, Wowowee offered the last segment of the show to a candle-light vigil lent and moment of silence in the studio with Willie giving a short statement and the show ending with Yeng Constantino singing "Hawak Kamay."Fact|date=January 2008

On January 29, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled with finality dismissing ABS-CBN's case of junking the investigation by the Department of Justice. Hence after 2 years of ABS-CBN's blocking of closure to the event, the DOJ can now indict all of those involved in the stampede except for Revillame. [ [ SC junks with finality ABS-CBN plea vs DoJ in Pasig stampede ] by Tetch Torres,, 18:21:00 01/29/2008]


Pope Benedict XVI expressed sadness over the incident. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in a telegram to Pasig district Bishop Francisco San Diego that the Pope offers his prayers for all those affected by this terrible accident. [ cite news | publisher = The Daily Tribune (Philippines)| title = Don’t drag GMA into deadly stampede, Palace tells critics | date = 6 February 2006 | url = ]

"Eat Bulaga!", "Wowowee"'s rival variety show shown in GMA Network, offered one-minute of prayer and silence for those victims of the stampede. ABS-CBN thanked "Eat Bulaga!" for their prayers. [ cite news | publisher = Philippine Daily Inquirer | title = TV rivalry, politics cast aside in wake of tragedy | date = 5 February 2006 | url = ]

In the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records, the incident was cited as "the greatest death toll in a game show". [ [ 'Wowowee' on 2007 Guinness World Records] ]


External links

* [ Soccer stadium stampede (BBC)]

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