MANILA, Philippines — Reports that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s went to Singapore over the weekend for the Formula One Grand Prix has prompted criticism from activist groups who said doing so would be insensitive to Filipinos affected by Typhoon Karding and the economic downturn.
Bilyonaryo's sister site Politiko also reported that Instagram updates from Rep. Aniela Tolentino (Cavite) showed that Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos (Ilocos Norte) was in Singapore as well.
Photos suggesting the president, his son and his cousin House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez were at the Singapore grand prix have also been circulating on Facebook.
Malacañang has yet to comment on the president's activities.
Singapore hosted its first F1 race since the pandemic in 2020, with tickets selling fast and party suites costing up to $70,000 (P4.1 million) a night. Race tickets cost from SG$98 (P4,024) to nearly SG$10,000 (P410,629).
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) noted that Marcos Jr. and his entourage are said to be staying at the exclusive F1 Paddock Club, which costs $8,000 (P470,412) for a two-day access pass.
"While Filipino farmers are still reeling from the damaging effects of the super typhoon, Marcos Jr. is 'living the life' and having a relaxing time abroad," KMP leader Rafael Mariano said in a statement on Sunday.
Marcos Jr. reportedly used a private jet to go to Singapore.
Whether Marcos Jr. used his own money or if someone sponsored his trip, it is still highly inappropriate and excessive.
— KMP (Peasant Movement of the Philippines) (@kmp_phl) October 2, 2022
Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. called the chief executive’s F1 trip "unnecessary and irresponsible."
"We are in the middle of an economic crisis where inflation will again reach record highs, public debt has breached P13 trillion, and millions of Filipinos are reeling from the effects of typhoon Karding," Reyes said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru), which battered parts of Luzon early last week, affected over a million individuals and left an estimated cost of damage to agriculture worth over P3.076 billion.
According to the latest situational report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the super typhoon also affected 166,630.11 hectares of crops and 104,500 farmers and fishers.
Marcos Jr. is concurrently head of the agriculture department. He said the "problem is severe enough" for him to personally steer the department to help address the rising costs of commodities. But following reports of his F1 weekend trip, the chief executive was also criticized for his “partying and leisurely habits.”
Mariano claimed that "Marcos Jr. spent more time for celebrations, parties, and trips abroad rather than working round-the-clock to attend to the country's woes."
Meanwhile, Reyes raised that Marcos’ lifestyle is "incompatible with the Office of the President."
"We are approaching the first 100 days in office of Marcos and it has been one party after another since he returned to Malacañang,” Reyes said. "The people demand a concrete response to the economic crisis, not a partying president."
Marcos won the May elections by a landslide and remains widely popular. — with reports from Agence France-Presse
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