METRO MANILA: 8 INJURED IN F4 CONCERT

METRO MANILA, September 15, 2003 (STAR) By Non Alquitran  - At least eight people were injured when the broken gate of the PhilSports arena (formerly known as Ultra) in Pasig City fell at the height of the F4 concert on Saturday night.

Worse, a number of petty crimes were committed under the noses of some 100 uniformed and plainclothes policemen fielded by Chief Superintendent Rolando Sacramento, director of the Eastern Police District (EPD), to maintain traffic and peace and order in the concert area.

Sacramento clarified that not one of those injured was in serious condition as earlier reported.

He identified the victims as Rosita Legaspi, 45; Maribel Tapayao, 17; Rolando Onchangco, 40; Consuelo Rejano, 25; Silverio Atienza, 40; Jocelyn Atienza, 55; Juliane Atienza, 11, and Catherine Calamlam, 34. They sustained contusions and bruises in different parts of the body and are presently being treated at the Medical City hospital.

Another unidentified victim was sent home because the injuries he suffered did not need treatment, Sacramento said.

Sacramento explained that since 11 a.m., thousands of fans with tickets to the concert started lining up at the gate located between the basketball court and the Department of Education (DepEd) buildings leading to the PhilSports track oval where the concert will be held.

When the concert of Taiwanese pop stars Vaness Wu, Ken Zuo and Barbie Xu and their Filipino counterparts were about to start at 8:30 p.m., the guards tried to close the gate, but the crowd shoved and pushed until it fell.

"Dahil gustong makita ang mga iniidolo nila, nagtulakan ang mga nakapila sa gate na ikinasira naman nito at nadaganan ang mga nasa unahan (Because they want to see their idols, those who were lined up at the gate pushed and shoved each other.)," said Sacramento in an interview.

While the victims were trapped by the fallen gate, other fans rushed inside stepping on them and causing more injuries.

ABS-CBN issued a statement saying that "it is not in any way involved in the production of the concert, which was undertaken by Big Slim Entertainment, an independent production outfit."

"Except to cover the event and its ancillary activities for promotional purposes, ABC-CBN had no participation in the handling and conduct of the said concert," the statement added.

In exchange for the promo activities extended them, Big Slim has awarded ABS-CBN the exclusive broadcast rights to cover the event.

Concert producer Susan Lim of Big Slim Entertainment, on the other hand, apologized to those who went to the show for the "difficulties or any inconvenience they experienced in entering the venue."

She explained that meticulous security checks were conducted to ensure the safety of the public.

F4 stars leave immediately for Taiwan By Evelyn Macairan The Philippine Star 09/15/2003

Taiwanese pop stars Ken Zhu and Vaness Wu, two members of the popular group F4, and Barbie Xu, who plays the role of San Cai in the hit telenovela Meteor Garden were the last passengers to board China Airlines flight No. Cl-632 bound for Taipei, Taiwan at 11:15 a.m. yesterday.

Tight security preparations kept members of the media, fans, security personnel of Meteor Garden guessing the time and departure flight of the three pop stars at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 yesterday morning.

China Airlines personnel told The STAR that the stars arrived at about 11:14 a.m., a minute before departure time.

"The plane would not have waited for them had they been late. They were the last people to board the plane and the tube was immediately disconnected from the doorway to allow the plane to take off," an airline staff said.

Percival Salvador, an airport police officer, told The STAR they too were kept in the dark on the security arrangements for the singer-actors from Taiwan. About 40 airport policemen were stationed at the tarmac to secure the stairs leading to the airplane.

"We were surprised when Zhu, Wu, Xu and their entourage used the elevator then passed through the tube of Gate 16 of the departure area. There were only two security personnel near the tube, because we didnít know they were going that way. Very few people knew they were coming, so there was no pandemonium," Salvador said.

The people in charge of their security changed their strategy yesterday.

When Zhu and Wu arrived last Friday afternoon, people were expecting them to pass through proper channels or appear at the arrival station at the second floor of NAIA Terminal 1, but instead they were ushered down the stairs at the tarmac where a van was waiting for them.

The Taiwanese stars came to Manila to hold a one-night concert at the Ultra last Saturday evening.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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