You can brawl, but don’t miss the point

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And because the Tulfo-Santiago brouhaha has peaked, so it must crash.

Once again, this humor-loving country has created a circus in what could have been a wakeup call to the dire state of airline services. It all started with lost luggage, really, whose flame was fanned by the lust for a scoop and climaxed by the exchange of physical injuries both real and imagined.

Who’s telling the truth? Nobody knows. Witnesses emerged, thank God — but, wait, there are still two versions of the story, and the airport has no CCTV camera.

Mavens of traditional and social media channels rode the issue like it were of national importance; it was, after all, starred by a Tulfo brother and the controversial Barretto-Santiago couple.

There was a bombing in Butuan City that killed some 17 people at the same time this happened. It wasn’t on the news; it came out shortly after the airport brawl fire has started dying out.

Internet memes were created, Team Tulfo versus Team Santiago in Thrilla in Manila, why, even Senator Miriam Santiago was dragged into the picture. Here’s what she had to say, by the way. (God bless this woman!)

Entertained we all were by the spectacle! But when the fire started getting smaller, heads gotten cooler, we all start feeling that void — a large question mark that makes us go “What just happened?” without really admitting it.

We’ve lost sight of the root.

Let’s rewind, fanfare aside.

Cebu Pacific Air decided to unload the Santiagos’ and other passengers’ bags from the plane going from Boracay to Manila due to “excess load.” Some 11 pieces of luggage were taken out to enable the plane to take off safely from the one-kilometer runway at Caticlan airport.

In a radio interview with dzBB, the spokesperson for the airline said the bags’ owners were not informed immediately as it would cause a delay in the departure and that the company had planned to just deliver the bags in the afternoon.

Had the passengers been informed, none of this would have happened. Again, had the passengers been informed, nobody would have gotten hurt. No ground staff will have borne the brunt of an angry customer’s anger. No hungry reporter would have taken videos. No brawl would have ensued.

Set aside the stories about Barretto being known to throw cuss words at people freely — that’s not the point. They were very angry customers who after a long trip find out that their bags have been removed without them knowing. Were the ground staff sympathetic? We don’t know. There was no CCTV, if it could help.

Informing requires only a few minutes — and in its absence, drama took its place. And the media is having a field day!

Ms. Doctor is a writer-editor based in Davao City

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