A mysterious offer of “pamasko” (Christmas money) lured more than 10,000 persons to the Quirino Grandstand area of Luneta Park in Manila since midnight Saturday.
Radio dzBB cited reports from the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 5 that 10,000 to 15,000 people had gathered in the area, but many of them started going home after 8 a.m., Sunday.
“Basta ang sabi may pamasko po. Kanina pa ako mga 4:30 galling Sta. Cruz (I just heard that Christmas gifts will be given here. I’ve been here since 4:30 a.m.),” said a 60-year-old woman who went to the area.
She said, however, that they were given ID cards and told to pay P10 to have the IDs laminated. The ID cards indicated that a certain Salvador de Corazon was to give the money.
When asked who invited her to go there, she said, “Wala, basta narinig lang namin, may nagsabi (No one did. I just heard they would give gifts, and I came).”
Another woman from Novaliches said she was about to go home when a certain Alice called out to her and told them to stay, but many could not wait any more.
The dzBB report said the money offer attracted people from as far as Novaliches and Binangonan town in Rizal province.
Authorities reportedly said that no one applied for a permit for a gathering at the Luneta Sunday morning. The only permit was for a Marian procession in the area later in the day, according to police.
The crowd was so big that security at the nearby Manila Hotel closed off the hotel premises and kept watch over the crowd.