The president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, has come under scrutiny after utilizing a presidential helicopter to attend a Coldplay concert in a province north of Manila. His arrival at the Philippine Arena on Friday, accompanied by his wife, prompted criticism on social media, with many accusing him of misusing government resources.
Critics argue that the deployment of the presidential helicopter for personal activities raises concerns about the responsible use of taxpayer money. Marcos Jr’s office defended the decision, attributing it to “unforeseen traffic complications.” Brig Gen Jesus Nelson Morales, head of Marcos’ Presidential Security Group (PSG), stated that an influx of 40,000 concert attendees caused traffic issues, posing a security threat to the president.
Morales emphasized the importance of public understanding and support, asserting that such measures are essential for maintaining the safety and well-being of the nation’s leadership. The Philippine Arena, normally a 40-minute drive from the presidential palace, becomes significantly challenging to reach due to the capital’s notorious traffic jams.
Videos and photos circulating on social media drew ire, with users questioning the use of taxpayer funds for personal activities. Critics argue that deploying the presidential chopper for non-official purposes constitutes an abuse of power. Concerns were also raised about the potential financial burden on taxpayers, covering expenses like fuel, security, and even concert tickets.
A recent survey indicated that Metro Manila topped the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index, with an average travel time of 25 minutes and 30 seconds for a 10km distance. The region’s traffic issues have been attributed to inadequate infrastructure and public transport. Filipino office workers routinely endure long commute times, with many navigating congested roads early in the morning.
Notably, Coldplay’s front man, Chris Martin, acknowledged the challenging traffic conditions in the Philippines during the concert, expressing gratitude to fans for their effort to attend the event despite the logistical hurdles. The incident adds to ongoing debates about responsible resource use by public officials and the impact of traffic challenges on citizens’ daily lives.