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Account on the 1981 Manila Film Center deaths

05:01 AM November 06, 2017

I wish to correct an erroneous entry in the Inquirer archives relative to the data on the rumored deaths during the construction of the Manila Film Center in 1981.

The feature article on haunted places included an item on ghosts at the Manila Film Center (“Haunted structures,” Property, 10/14/17).

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A statement in the article that caught my attention is the following:

“The number of those killed remains unclear due to heavy censorship at that time. Baltazar Endriga, former CCP chair, once estimated it in previous reports at 30 while a group of psychics claimed it could be more than 100.”

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The attribution to me as having estimated the number of deaths at 30 is completely erroneous. I never even once mentioned to anyone my estimate as to the number who died during the construction of the Film Center.

My attempts to ferret out the truth about the “rumored” deaths proved inconclusive. The group of psychics headed by Tony Perez of Ateneo de Manila University failed to establish the veracity of the reported deaths after three attempts (done at midnight) to communicate with “spirits” of the supposed dead.

Because of the failure of Perez’s group to establish the facts via his power to speak with the spirits of the dead, I decided to personally talk to the architect of the project, Dr. Froilan Hong, of the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Hong brought with him the detailed architectural plans of the Manila Film Center. He then explained to me how the “accident” that caused the death of “seven” construction workers happened. He explained that the scaffolding supporting the platform into which concrete was being poured collapsed and the seven workers fell to their deaths. The bodies of all seven were then retrieved and given the proper rites befitting the dead. He belied the popular story that many workers were buried alive in concrete and that in the hurry to finish the construction, they
were simply entombed under the Film Center’s bowels. “There is no truth to such stories,” Dr. Hong stated categorically.

With the above account may I request the Inquirer to correct the error enshrined in its archives.

BALTAZAR N. ENDRIGA, former president, Cultural Center of the Philippines

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TAGS: Baltazar N. Endriga, Froilan Hong, Inquirer letters, Metro Manila Film Center collapse
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