VIDEOS of the collapse of a cinema’s ceiling in Ayala Mall Cebu have been shared across social networks the other night, the images eliciting shock and gratitude for the relatively low casualty it caused amid the disaster. Sun.Star Cebu reported that six were injured when the whole ceiling of Cinema 5 dropped n the people who were more concerned about gawking at the waterfalls that the ceiling has become amid the heavy downpour that night.

As the report said, the cinema was booked by Dreamscape Networks, a business process outsourcing company, for its new ad campaign launch. Inside the cinema were Dreamscape’s more than 300 employees and guests, including several foreign visitors. The ceiling first poured water as people filed slowly out of the cinema, that was just before a huge portion of the ceiling, particularly on the upper part, fell down, rafters and all.

We can only congratulate the people inside for not breaking into a stampede as while there were screams and curses of surprise, people continued to move on, all walking toward the exit. At least, that was what the videos were showing.

One question seeks answer first, however: If rainwater can cause ceilings to collapse, what can major typhoons and earthquakes do?

It’s back to the drawing boards for all the builders and building inspectors. This is the 21st century where disasters come in unimaginable intensities, we cannot afford to be lackadaisical in how we fix those structures that are supposed to provide a safe place for people to watch movies, hang out. Not.

In this time of major disasters, shortcuts for quick return of investments should be forever shunned as the contractors for this new structure have to be blacklisted and never to be allowed to build again. There is no place for criminal neglect as we push forward toward years of greater disasters that can shake our very homes on its deepest foundations. We cannot afford lack of concern and foresight to rule our building industry.

The second question: Why are people more concerned about taking videos and photos? True, this was but a collapse of a ceiling, but it can be worse. That the ceiling was pouring like waterfalls should have already indicated some danger, but no, people cannot be distracted from their self-imposed role of documenting what is happening. True, we would not have seen how the ceiling collapsed without these people, but the ceiling could have collapsed right above their heads and they would not have been prepared for that. Let’s call it a lucky streak, that despite the big crowd, the inattention to the dangers, and yes, the penchant to take photos first before finding safety, only six were injured. It could have been worse.

May we not let our preoccupation with our gadgets and social networks numb us to the dangers that we are facing because sometimes people are not as lucky.