Next Saturday, September 22, will be the 2012 UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The week before, then, usually becomes the most grueling experience when it comes to the acquisition of tickets.
I looked at my wallet and saw last year’s tickets. Exactly a year from today, I just realized how much pain I had just to get them. Similarly, exactly seven years ago in 2005, I had participated as part of the competing team for the first time.
I had always dreamed of being part of the UP Pep Squad. When I was still a high school student in 2001, I first saw their synchonized swimming-inspired routine on TV and I was completely enamored. My primary motivation in entering UP Diliman was just to be part of the squad, and I remember telling myself that the rest would just follow once I got in. Of course, I had never told anyone in the squad about this because it was quite silly, but finally being a member of the squad was one of the best things that happened to me in college.
But since graduating in 2007, like any mere mortals (and believe it or not even current squad members themselves), tickets for the spectacle were becoming more and more difficult to come by. In 2007, I had to buy the Patron ticket with the compulsory gift certificate from Araneta Center because there was no other choice. It wasn’t that bad, even if it was already priced at around Php 500. But from 2008 until 2011, I had to pay a thousand pesos up for a ticket, and the worst being 2011 when it was just an Upper Box ticket! Scalpers are getting crazier every year, with some pretending to have bought the tickets at a high price and claimed that those are just spare tickets: (1) for friends who won’t be able to come, (2) for seats they no longer need because of better seats, or (3) they themselves won’t be able to come. It was getting more and more pathetic and ludicrous, but guess what, there’s still a high demand.
The whole situation makes me hate scalpers with a passion. And to make matters worse, some of the scalpers are students, with one being a classmate in an Anthropology 10 class. The look on his face when I got the tickets was priceless because I gave a momentary judgmental look (out of desperation) and he recognized that I was once part of the squad.
I looked online, particularly on Sulit.com.ph and I was not surprised to see that a scalper already has an advertisement for the 2012 UAAP CDC tickets.
If I’m not mistaken, the Php 900 one was for an Upper Box ticket, while the one below (evidently) was for a Lower Box ticket. I have never been inside the MOA Arena, which, for the first time in years, will be the venue of the competition unlike when it used to be in Araneta Coliseum. I was initially under the impression that since it will be on an SM-owned venue, tickets will be for sale online on SM Tickets, but until now they are not available for sale. Just like every year, tickets are distributed to each member schools and it would be up to them how to distribute them. But based on what I’ve read online, some of the tickets will be sold online as well starting on the 20th I’m eagerly looking forward to that, especially as it was officially announced in SM Tickets’ Facebook page.
Back on the advertisement, it was appalling on how the acquiring and selling process was described.
It raises a lot of questions. First, the tickets are coming from which sources? If the tickets are to be distributed to the athletics/varsity office of each member schools, does it follow that they have a hand over the distribution and pricing of these tickets? Second, if these sources are not the varsity offices but the direct source that produces these tickets, then we have a problem with the innate corruption within the UAAP System that turns a blind eye, or worse, condones this behavior. Third, why source these tickets from sources to save the customer’s time when the customer was willing to queue up to get these tickets fairly? Scalpers make me sick.
In 2008, several men were apprehended by the Quezon City police for selling overpriced tickets for a basketball game in UAAP. According to the article, it was a violation of the Quezon City ordinance no. SP-493, S-97 or the Anti-Scalping Law, which prohibits reselling of tickets in exorbitant prices. However, it was interesting on how the bail was only Php 2,000 each, which was even nowhere half of a jacked up Patron ticket from Php 250 to Php 5,000 each. Doing a cost-benefit analysis, a rational scalper would risk getting caught especially if deducting the bail would still give him more money in the process. Another interesting point of the article was the claim that the scalpers were financed by a “small group of policemen assigned in Quezon City.” Talk about the policemen upholding and protecting the rights of the citizens for fairness.
Well, this is not the end of the interesting story. Judging from the article above, we can concur that the Philippines as whole does not have an anti-scalping law. So the most salient implication — given that Pasay has no anti-scalping ordinance unlike Quezon City, it scares me how the upcoming tickets would be priced. Looking at those advertisements from Sulit.com.ph, a Lower Box ticket costs Php 1,800 or Php 800 more than what I paid before for an Araneta Coliseum ticket. And there were an all-encompassing Anti-Scalping law, how sure are we that it will be rightfully implemented given the corruption in our police force?
Of course, one may say that “Scalping tickets is the least of our problem“, but it is no excuse to overlook this abysmal situation. I am a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen (ouch with the amount of tax I get each cut-off!) and I also deserve some entertainment and means to unwind, and this annual competition gives me a chance to be doused with my beloved school spirit. We can clearly see that it was clearly all about the money and the simple economics of demand and supply. But underneath the scalping problem was an allegation of protection from policemen, which exposes how corrupt their system is or our system as a whole.
Anyway, I’m still hoping to secure tickets with the same amount written on it. If only I did not care that much for my old squad, I would not bother watching. I no longer want to be part of the problem as one of the people who comprise the demand demography. Hopefully, this online ticketing by SM will be for the better and will slowly put a stop to the scalping problem every UAAP Cheerdance Competition.