Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos Jr received backlash on social media for using a presidential chopper to attend the Coldplay concert to beat the capital’s horrendous traffic.
Mr Marcos arrived at the British rock band Coldplay’s concert on Friday and videos of him attending the show went viral on social media.
Most Filipinos criticised the president and his family for using a helicopter with taxpayers’ money while remaining oblivious to the traffic conditions around metropolitan Manila, a metropolis of 16 overcrowded cities of about 13 million people.
Manila has earned the dubious distinction of being the “worst in the world” for traffic among 387 cities in 55 countries, according to navigation and mapping firm TomTom.
But that did not prevent Mr Marcos from making it to the show and reaching the concert venue, that is approximately 30km north of the capital, Manila. It would have taken concertgoers at least three hours to travel by road.
Addressing the controversy, the Presidential Security Group said in a statement the Philippine Arena, the world’s largest indoor arena, saw an influx of 40,000 concert-goers resulting in “unforeseen traffic complications along the route”.
The traffic situation posed a security threat to Mr Marcos who attended the Friday night concert with his wife, prompting the use of the presidential chopper, it added.
Preşedintele din Filipine stârneşte furie după ce a folosit elicopterul prezidenţial pentru a ajunge la concertul Coldplay - https://t.co/BEpxfj8cW9
Preşedintele filipinez Ferdinand Marcos Jr. este criticat pe reţelele sociale pentru că a folosit un elicopter prezidenţial... pic.twitter.com/LUQ6gnELSM
— Europa Press RO (@europapress_ro) January 21, 2024
However, residents expressed frustration about the traffic situation in the city and the use of taxpayer funds by Mr Marcos, the son and namesake of the late strongman president, whose rule concluded almost four decades ago through a historic “people power” revolution.
"Using official resources, like the presidential chopper, for personal and non-official activities is generally considered an abuse of power or misuse of government resources," Facebook user James Patrick Aristorenas said in a post on Saturday.
“We paid for the use of the chopper, fuel and security, who knows even for the tickets for everyone,” Facebook user Arvine Concepcion said.